Could It Be OCD?

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There's a difference between acting OCD and actually having OCD. Discover the difference between habits and OCD symptoms  at HealthyPlace.

Could It Be OCD?

The term OCD, which in reality an acronym for obsessive-compulsive disorder, seems to have become an adjective describing people and behavior. The term OCD is tossed about so causally and dismissively that it has become confusing (True OCD is More than a Compulsion for Neatness). Could you be OCD?

A very important clarification: No one is OCD. OCD isn't a descriptive adjective. OCD is a mental health disorder described in the American Psychiatric Association's (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). People have, or they experience OCD. No one is his or her disorder.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately two million Americans have OCD, or about one percent of the population. Yet far more than that describe themselves or each other "as" OCD. Could your (or someone else's) habits really be OCD? OCD:

  • is more than a penchant for neatness
  • is more than a need to triple-check that you locked the door
  • involves obsessive, unwanted, intrusive, and anxiety-provoking thoughts
  • involves compulsions, repeated actions done to eliminate the obsessions; these are very time-consuming
  • is life-limiting

If someone describes you as OCD and you fit the above criteria, it could be OCD. A mental health professional will help you sort it out. But if you don't have the key OCD symptoms of life-limiting, intrusive obsessions and compulsions, most likely OCD is a meaningless adjective.

Related Articles Dealing with OCD

Your Thoughts

Today's Question: If you or someone you know lives with OCD, bipolar disorder, or any other mental health disorder, how do you react/respond if you hear someone use one of these terms casually? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, knowledge, or experiences on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

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From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.


From HealthyPlace YouTube Channel

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Because of bipolar disorder, I experience emotional extremes. I’m not referring to bipolar moods-mania and depression, but rather I overreact to certain situations.


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If you're not already, I hope you'll join us/like us on Facebook too. There are a lot of wonderful, supportive people there.


Mental Health Quote

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That's it for now. If you know of anyone who can benefit from this newsletter or the site, I hope you'll pass this onto them. You can also share the newsletter on any social network (like facebook, stumbleupon, or google+) you belong to by clicking the links below. For updates throughout the week, circle HealthyPlace on Google+, follow HealthyPlace on Twitter or become a fan of HealthyPlace on Facebook. Also, check out HealthyPlace on Pinterest and share your mental health pins on our Share Your Mental Health Experiences board.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2017, March 1). Could It Be OCD?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: May 8, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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