Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

In general, people with OCD experience obsessions. These are thoughts, pictures or impulses which are usually unpleasant and come in to mind when we don’t want them. Many things can trigger these obsessions and they usually leave the person feeling very anxious, uncomfortable or frightened. The compulsion is the behaviour performed in order to “put right” the obsession.

Sometimes the behaviour is quite irrational, such as counting up in sevens for seven minutes. Sometimes the behaviour is more closely related to the obsessional thought such as washing hands many times to avoid contamination.

Most people with OCD know that their compulsions are irrational or “over the top”, but they feel unable to control their thoughts or change their behaviour.

OCD affects people in a number of ways, such as the following:

What we think:

  • Obsessions
  • Guilty thoughts

How we feel:

  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

What we do:

  • Compulsion
  • Avoidance
  • Seeking reassurance

Most people who have OCD find that there is a pattern in their thoughts, feelings and actions. They feel anxiety or discomfort at having the obsession and relief once they have carried out the compulsive act. This becomes a vicious cycle which strengthens itself and becomes more likely to happen again.

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If you need support to help you deal with OCD
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