What Is OCD?

Find out what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is, how to spot it, and how to treat it…

All About OCD

OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that involves a person having obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. These thoughts and behaviours can be different from person to person, but they can start to take over the individual and make it very difficult to go about daily life. 

You may have heard people use the term ‘OCD’ in the incorrect way or used it yourself in the past. Saying something like, “OMG, that’s not good for my OCD!” On seeing an untidy room implies that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is merely a dislike for mess or disorganised spaces. This isn’t the case at all. 

Could I Have OCD?

OCD behaviour isn’t always repeated handwashing or having to flick a switch a certain number of times before being able to resume your day. Signs of OCD include:

  • A desire to repeat a certain behaviour over and over again to release a negative feeling or to satisfy an irrational fear.
  • An unpleasant thought, fear or image that plays over and over in your mind, making you feel upset, anxious or uneasy.
  • Feeling an uncontrollable desire (compulsion) to carry out an action in order to release the anxiety.

Obsessions And Compulsions

Obsession is the thing that you can’t stop thinking or worrying about. You then have a compulsion to act upon it to banish your anxiety. For example, you may worry constantly your hands are covered in harmful germs and worry that you’ll become seriously ill. This is the obsession. You then wash your hands multiple times throughout the day, scrubbing as hard as you can. This is the compulsion.

Types of Compulsions

There are many ways in which a person with OCD will act to try and rid themselves of anxious thoughts. Some of these include:

  • Checking things constantly and repetitively (such as locks).
  • Cleaning themself excessively due to a fear of contamination.
  • Counting to a certain number before doing something or afterwards.
  • Organising and rearranging objects in a very specific way.
  • Hoarding items that most people would throw away.

Compulsive behaviours can take over your life and make you feel as if you cannot carry on with your day without carrying out your compulsion to a certain standard or a particular number of times.

What Causes OCD?

It often appears in puberty or young adulthood and can affect both males and females. There is no known cause of OCD but there are a few things that could make you more at risk of getting it, such as a family history or a traumatic experience in your life. Those with anxiety and high personal standards are also more likely to develop OCD.

Getting Help

People with the condition often feel embarrassed about their condition but there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be extremely debilitating and exhausting. If you, or someone you know, could be suffering from OCD and it’s having a negative impact on your life, then there is help out there to support you.

Your doctor can help you to get the right kind of support. There are medications to treat OCD and you may well be prescribed and antidepressant. Therapy called CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) may also be used. CBT is a talking therapy, designed to get you to look at your obsessive thoughts, determine the cause of them, and work to help you overcome them. With the right help, therapy and support, you can get your life back and overcome your OCD.

For more help:

OCD Action – [https://ocdaction.org.uk/]

Young Minds – https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/conditions/ocd/


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