Some kids like to wash their hands, but Sarah does it too much. She wants to stop, but her hands just don't feel clean enough and she can't make herself turn off the water. Sometimes she scrubs her hands until they are red and raw. After eating, she feels she has to wash again.
Because she spends so much time washing, Sarah has to rush to get to school on time. At school, she tries not to touch doorknobs or handrails, worrying that if she does she may catch a serious disease. Sometimes, Sarah gets behind in her classwork because she feels that she needs to keep checking it over and over.
During a quiz or test Sarah checks and rechecks every answer and erases anything that isn't perfectly straight or neat. Sometimes she erases so hard it tears the paper, but she can't help it. Sarah gets a bad feeling that if everything isn't exactly right, something terrible may happen. All this worrying, checking, and fixing takes so long that Sarah hardly ever finishes the test before time is up. So even though she knows the work, she often gets an incomplete mark or even fails.
Sarah tries so hard to hide her habits. She worries that she might be going crazy or that people would think she's weird if they knew what she was doing. Sarah knows that the time she spends washing and checking could be spent having fun with friends or doing her schoolwork, but she can't seem to stop herself. That's because Sarah has obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD).