Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized in the DSM-5 by repetitive, intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors the individual does to try to alleviate the anxiety caused by the intrusive thoughts.
The content of the obsessions can vary from individual to individual, but some common thoughts are about harm coming to others or themselves, bad numbers and colors, concerns with morality or rules, and/or fear of involuntarily committing inappropriate acts.
Similarly, compulsions are often unique to the individual and their fears. Nonetheless, common compulsions include tapping, counting, repeating actions, checking, and replaying thoughts or memories. While for some individuals, compulsions may be outwardly visible, this is not always true. They may be entirely internal.
Of note, is the “D” in OCD: disorder. OCD causes intense distress and takes up a great deal of time in someone’s life. If you enjoy something like organizing or cleaning, it is not OCD. Plus, the disorder can be incredibly debilitating when left untreated.
According to the International OCD Foundation, evidence-based treatment for OCD is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy and/or medication.