Signs you may have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder):
Unwanted sexual thoughts
Just like violent thoughts, recurring unwanted thoughts about inappropriate or taboo sexual behavior frequently occur in OCD. Patients may imagine for an instant that they are going to grope their coworker or molest a child, or wonder if they are gay instead of straight (or vice versa).
Fears of violence
Everybody has fleeting thoughts about the possibility of being affected by violence or other misfortunes. The more we try to avoid thoughts like this, the more they pop into our heads, research shows—and this appears to be especially true for people with OCD. They “could be trying harder to suppress these thoughts,” Szymanski says, “or they may react more intensely to them because they deem them as unacceptable.
People with OCD can take organizing to the level of perfectionism. “It has to feel just right, look just right, be symmetrical, be the right number [of items],” Szymanski says. This fussiness is often driven by obsessions about order and symmetry.
Some people with OCD perform tasks according to a certain numeric pattern or count to themselves as they do everyday things (such as climbing stairs or cleaning). These behaviors may be driven by superstitions. For instance, a belief that the number seven is good may lead someone to feel that they’ll hurt themselves or someone else if they don’t take seven steps at a time.
So-called checking behaviors—returning three, four, or even 20 times to make sure the oven is off or the front door is locked—are the most common compulsions associated with OCD, affecting nearly 30% of people with the disorder. Like other compulsive behaviors, checking can be driven by a variety of obsessions, ranging from a fear of getting hurt to deep-seated feelings of irresponsibility.