Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is OCD?

OCD is a form of anxiety disorder that can have a significant impact upon our day-to-day lives. Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts or images that repeatedly appear in your mind and that you feel unable to control. Compulsions are the activities that you carry out to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessional thought or image. The compulsion can have a direct link to the thought: extreme hand washing due to a fear of contamination, but it may also be a seem unconnected: tapping the bed 7 times before getting up otherwise something bad will happen.

What are the symptoms?

Many of us experience minor obsessions such as worrying about whether we have locked the front door, or left the gas on, but they do not prevent us from getting on with our day-to-day lives. You may also notice that the symptoms become worse when you are under stress. Symptoms will vary and you may have all, some or just one of them:

  • You change your schedules to allow for repeating compulsions or you are often late due to not being able to leave the house until certain rituals are completed.
  • You are tired and struggle to concentrate
  • You hide your behaviours from others and avoid situations that make you feel anxious
  • You are scared by your obsessive thoughts, that can be violent and/or sexual in nature
  • You repeat certain behaviours in an attempt to neutralise obsessive thoughts
  • You realise that your behaviours make no rational sense but you can’t stop ‘just on case’
  • You feel tense, anxious, fearful, guilty or disgusted by your thoughts
  • You feel better if you carry out your ritual or behaviour but it doesn’t last long

What are the therapies that can help?

Related issues

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