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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

It is normal to check the door is locked before going to bed. However, some people might have to check it several times, or go through a complicated routine of checking before being able to relax. We′re all careful about hygiene, or making sure that our environment is safe. But some people have to keep washing their hands, or checking the oven is switched off, again and again.

From obsessive thoughts that just won′t stop, to the need to touch, count or repeat the same actions, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is common, and varies in its severity. It can be deeply distressing for the sufferer and those around them. OCD sufferers are usually aware of their behaviour, and can be extremely self-conscious about it. Untreated, OCD can contribute to other emotional problems such as Anger, Depression and Relationship problems.

If you think you may be suffering from OCD, the good news is that help is available. With the right help, you can overcome your problems and move forward with your life.

What is OCD?

There are three main components to OCD: obsessive thoughts, the anxiety that you feel, and the things that you are compelled to do. The thoughts and actions vary from person to person, but common to all sufferers are the feelings of tension, anxiety, guilt, disgust or depression. Carrying out the compulsive behaviour seems to alleviate these feelings.

Unfortunately, trying to push away unpleasant thoughts can actually make them more frequent, whilst carrying out rituals can strengthen our belief in them, making them even more compelling. This creates a vicious cycle, which can be very difficult to overcome.

Do I have OCD?

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may be suffering from OCD and could benefit hugely from the right help:

  • unwelcome thoughts or pictures in your mind that won’t go away
  • unwanted and persistent worries and doubts
  • the need to make everything right in some way – excessive perfectionism
  • counting, praying or saying a special word repeatedly to try to stop the unwanted thoughts
  • compulsive rituals or compulsive checking
  • avoidance of everyday things
  • hoarding
  • compulsive need for reassurance

Why do I have OCD?

Research has shown that a number of factors can contribute to OCD. These include genetics, brain chemistry, stress, life changes and personality. Specific events such as loss or trauma can also trigger OCD, but as the condition usually develops over time, you may not be able to identify the cause. Remember that OCD is a relatively common problem, and effective treatment is available.

Psychological therapy for OCD

OCD can seem a particularly difficult problem to overcome. You may feel completely trapped by the condition, and unable to live a normal day-to-day life. However, with the right help, it is likely that you will quickly start to manage these issues better.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is widely recognised as being particularly helpful for OCD. With CBT, your clinical psychologist or cognitive behaviour therapist will work with you to help you to cope with your unwanted thoughts and resist your compulsive behaviours, showing you a variety of self help techniques that will make a huge difference to how you act and how you feel.

Your next steps

Connect will help you find the most appropriate therapist for your circumstances, in a location convenient to you. If you or someone you know is suffering, and you live in Bath, Bristol, North Somerset, West Wiltshire or South Gloucestershire, please contact us for a free discussion of your concerns. Call 01225 344 171 or email concerned@connectpp.co.uk

More information is available on the following websites: