People with OCD disorders usually experience obsessions and compulsions, although some people may only experience one of them, according to Mayo Clinic. Approximately one-third of the people with OCD disorders have tics, which are sudden, brief sounds or movements that are difficult or impossible to control.
Obsessions are unwanted, persistent urges or images that repeatedly cause negative emotions such as anxiety or stress, notes Mayo Clinic. Obsessions tend to be intrusive, and some people with OCD perform rituals or compulsions to stop them. Some common obsessions include being afraid of dirt or contamination, thoughts about harming oneself or others, and the need for order and symmetry. Some people with an obsession disorder may experience unpleasant thoughts related to religion, sexuality or aggression.
Compulsions are actions that people with OCD disorders perform because they feel an undeniable urge, states Mayo Clinic. These behaviors are often performed in an effort to reduce anxiety associated with obsessions. Some examples of symptoms associated with compulsions include washing hands so often that the skin becomes raw, checking to make sure that the stove is off and doors are locked, and arranging products so that all of the labels face a certain way. People with OCD disorders may count in specific patterns, and it is also common to repeat a phrase, word or prayer silently.