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ocd

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can be serious, but it is treatable.

People with OCD have repeating thoughts, images or feelings that are distressing. These are sometimes known as ‘obsessions’ or ‘obsessive thoughts’. Sometimes when our mind is filled with very upsetting thoughts, we can try to take actions that will bring us relief and make the thoughts go away. We might start to believe that these actions will get rid of our anxiety or make these thoughts go away. Sometimes having rituals that calm us down can be really helpful. But sometimes these rituals or habits become ‘compulsions’, meaning that we think we have to do them. We might start to believe that if we don’t do them, something bad will happen to us, or to the people around us.

It’s important to realise that with OCD, often our compulsive habits or rituals end up making us feel worse. This is because once the ritual is finished, anxious thoughts come rushing back again, sometimes even more extreme. This is how some people get trapped in a cycle of doing the same action again and again, feeling unable to stop.

OCD rituals can be obvious to other people (like checking if doors are locked) or they can happen inside your head (like counting things, or trying to counteract negative thoughts with positive ones).

The symptoms of OCD.

 

Common symptoms of OCD include feeling:

  • like your mind is being 'invaded' by horrible thoughts repeatedly

  • scared, disgusted, guilty, tearful, doubtful or depressed

  • a powerful urge to do something to stop the feelings

  • temporary relief after rituals

  • a need to ask for reassurance or get people to check things for you

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by OCD. It’s important to talk to your GP to get more help.

What to do about OCD

Talk to your GP
If they think you’re suffering from OCD, whether mild or severe, they can suggest different types of treatment that might help. They can also offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing. You may be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist for more help.

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