OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
WHAT IS IT?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Obsessions are usually unpleasant thoughts, pictures or impulses which come into mind when we don’t want them. Compulsions are the behaviours used to ‘put right’ or act on the obsession.
Most people have occasional intrusive, troubling thoughts, such as worrying that you’ve left the oven on. But some people can’t get rid of them. If you have OCD, you may have repeated obsessions and compulsions that seem very important and make you feel anxious. Therapy can help you put things in perspective and develop coping mechanisms to deal with the triggers of OCD.
- Obsession – unwanted thoughts, images or urges that repeatedly enter your mind causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. Eg fear of being burgled
- Compulsion – repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought. Eg check all the windows and doors are locked several times before leaving the house.
- Women can sometimes have OCD during pregnancy or after their baby is born. Obsessions may include worrying about harming the baby or not sterilising feeding bottles properly. Compulsions could be things such as repeatedly checking the baby is breathing.
Managing your OCD
People with OCD are often reluctant to seek help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed. OCD is a health condition like any other. Having OCD does not mean you’re “mad” and it’s not your fault you have it.
Living with OCD can be difficult. In addition to getting medical help, you might find it helps to contact a support group or other people with OCD for information and advice.