Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts, ideas, or urges (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviours or mental acts (compulsions). The compulsions are done in an attempt to relieve the distress and anxiety caused by the obsessions, although they usually only provide temporary relief. The symptoms of OCD can range from mild to severe, with some people only spending an hour a day on their compulsions, while others may be completely consumed by them. Common symptoms of OCD include: obsessions, anxiety, compulsions, and temporary relief. People with OCD often engage in behaviours such as counting, seeking reassurance, repeating words silently, overthinking, ‘neutralising thoughts’, cleaning and handwashing, checking, and more.
If you're suffering from OCD, the most effective treatment is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which uses graded exposure and response prevention (ERP) to help you cope with obsessive thoughts without engaging in compulsive behaviour. If your symptoms are particularly severe, a Consultant Psychiatrist may be consulted to discuss medication options. It's important to seek help for OCD if it's starting to interfere with your daily life, or if you find yourself spending a lot of time engaging in rituals to manage anxiety. Other forms of therapy to consider include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Your therapist will assess your levels of anxiety and discomfort and create a plan that allows you to make progress without feeling overwhelmed.