Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
OCD can take many different forms, but most commonly consists of repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions). The thoughts are usually unpleasant and the actions aim to reduce unpleasant feelings, although sufferers often know that the actions carried out are unnecessary.
What are the symptoms?
The most common areas of concern in obsessions are:
- Dirt and disease
- Harm coming to people
Compulsions include washing and checking of locks and switches. Sometimes people do not carry out an action such as those described above but use a mental ritual such as replacing a ‘bad thought’ with a ’good thought’.
What types of treatment are recommended?
Treatment for OCD usually involves self-help, talking therapies and medication.
Self-help can be a very useful first step in tackling OCD. You can join a self-help group or access self-help books or online information and support. IAPT services often provide support and guidance in using self-help materials.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for OCD consists of a strategy called ‘Exposure with response prevention’. This is a very active treatment with the therapist offering support and advice. The aim is to change unhelpful behaviour patterns that may cause or prolong symptoms of OCD. This is always done in a gradual, step-by-step way.
If you would like to receive help for OCD you can ask your GP for information about local mental health services or you can refer yourself directly to a service.
Help is never far away.