Skip main navigation


In this article will be explained what obsessions are.
Pedestrian crossing
© University Medical Center Groningen

In addition to compulsions, people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can also have obsessions. Obsessions are about something your are afraid or ashamed of, which cannot be stopped: you have to think about it all the time. Obsessions can be about terrible things that could happen, for instance that you might kill someone, or about something you feel you should not think about because it is wrong.

Many children go through a period in which they don’t allow themselves to step on the white bars of a crosswalk or always do other things. It is also very common that people like to sit on the same place at a table or do things at a specific order when they get out of bed. Maybe you belong to these people as well. As long as you could do it in another if you had to without feeling very anxious or stressed, this is not an OCD. People with an OCD cannot stop or change their behaviors, not even when their compulsions cause problems, for instance because they are always late.

Via this link you can find stories from young people that suffer from compulsions. There is also a movie clip about someone with a compulsion.

Tip: you may like to open this in a new tab or window.

© University Medical Center Groningen
This article is from the free online

Young People and Mental Health

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education