That varies with each person with OCD. You may have only one or two obsessions or compulsions, whereas others may spend their entire day anxious and using behaviors to combat their thoughts. What researchers do know from the OCD field trials for the DSMIV (Foa & Kozak, 1995) is that about 96 percent of patients appear to have both obsessions and compulsions, with only 2 percent reporting only obsessions and 2 percent reporting only compulsions. Further, 30 percent of patients have predominantly obsessions (with some compulsions), 21 percent have predominantly compulsions (with some obsessions), and 49 percent had a relatively equal mix of obsessions and compulsions. Further, research has shown us what the most popular themes are for obsessions (contamination, harming oneself or others, and symmetry are the top three) and compulsions (checking, cleaning/washing, and repeating things are the top three).
About Karen Hill
Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.