Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is a psychiatric disorder that roughly affects one percent of the UK population. It is an anxiety based disorder that consists of unwanted or intrusive thoughts that are very distressing which are sometimes accompanied by obsessive impulses or compulsions. The thoughts give rise to extreme anxiety, and the impulses help the person to have temporary relief from the anxiety. OCD can severely affect a person’s life.


Common intrusive thoughts that people have include a strong need to keep things neat and tidy, a fear of contamination and becoming ill, a fear of harming self or harming others, and a fear of causing accidents by for instance keeping the oven on and causing a fire. The obsessive behaviours that people engage in include excessive hand washing, checking repeatedly doors, light switches, plugs, counting and other repetitive actions. These symptoms are very often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Who is at risk

If a member of your family has suffered from OCD, this increases the risk Overactivity of certain areas of the brain can cause it, and sometimes it is due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. People who suffer from depression and Eating Disorders can sometimes suffer from OCD, very rarely a physical illness can cause OCD, this is more likely if the symptoms come on late in life.


People find it very difficult to ask for help and sometimes takes years to do so. There are many types of psychological treatment that are helpful in OCD.Exposure and Response Prevention, CBT, Mindfulness are some of the treatments used, medication is also helpful to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain. Most people need a combination of medication and psychological treatment, to help them to get better. There are a number ofself help books and fact sheets which would be very helpful to the person as well as family members. It is very important to have a comprehensive assessment done by an expert, so that the treatment is tailored to your needs.

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