What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Updated: Sep 23

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a term that is bandied around quite a lot, especially by people trying to explain their unusual quirks. However, there is a difference between neat and tidy, orderly, and consistent, and someone suffering from OCD.

OCD is a common, but serious, mental health condition that can affect anyone, no matter what gender, age, or background. The NHS describes it involving a “person [who] has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours”, to put it simply.

This is why people who like their books a certain way on a shelf sometimes describe themselves as having OCD, joking that they are obsessed with the precise order of the books.

The thing that sets OCD apart from just being orderly, however, is the presence of an unwanted or unpleasant thought that forces the person to carry out their action obsessively, as they are enveloped in unease and anxiety at the idea of not doing it.

Subsequently, they feel obliged to carry out repetitive behaviour to relieve those negative feelings.

According to the mental health charity Mind, some examples of these obsessions include worrying about having harmed someone or going to harm someone, having intrusive thoughts of being violent, having sexual intrusive thoughts, feelings of dirtiness triggered by someone who has harmed you, fear of something bad happening if things are not ‘right’, and anxiety about contamination.

Associated compulsions could include physical rituals, such as washing hands repeatedly, checking things, cleaning, ordering objects, hoarding items, counting, and saying words or prayers in a set manner, OCD UK reported.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, connect on Skype today with our OCD therapist in London.

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