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K–12 teaching and learning · from the UNC School of Education

Learn more about obsessive-compulsive disorder

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Disorder characterized by obsessions (such as a fear of germs) and compulsions (such as hand-washing).

Additional information

OCD is marked by obsessions or compulsions that are time-consuming, cause distress to the person experiencing them, or interfere with the person’s normal daily life. People with OCD may realize that their obsessions or compulsions are unreasonable, but they cannot refrain from them. Symptom severity may fluctuate over time. Treatments include medication and psychotherapy.

Common obsessions and compulsions include:

  • fear of germs or dirt
  • fear of having harmed someone
  • fear of losing control
  • washing
  • checking, touching, counting, or arranging things

In school. Children with OCD will probably be more successful in a structured, calm classroom with clear expectations. Those who compulsively recheck answers may need extended time on tests. Those with a fear of germs may not want to be touched.

Examples and resources

Further background information can be found at this website.

Information for teachers of students with OCD can be found at this site