Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by repeated images, thoughts, urges and doubts accompanied by anxiety, these are known as obsessions.


Examples of obsessions:

  • Contamination 
  • Cleanliness
  • Religion
  • Illness e.g. HIV
  • Loss of control (harming others e.g. stabbing, violence)
  • Acts against sexual preference e.g. same sex, children
  • Harm to self e.g. self-harm, suicide

The above are a few examples of obsessions, however obsessions can relate to anything.


It is important to remember with OCD your obsessions are normal, we all experience these thoughts. However, when we experience OCD, we may believe that having our obsessional thoughts mean that this will lead to such occurring, or that we are a bad person for having such thoughts. It is the interpretation of the obsession that leads to anxiety raising and maintaining its presence. 


Experiencing obsessions can alter our behaviour, we may find ourselves:

  • Checking
  • Seeking reassurance
  • Engaging in observable compulsions (strategies which we believe will prevent our fear occurring) e.g. cleanliness, excessively washing hands
  • Mental unobservable compulsions e.g. replacing a negative with a positive thought, trying not to think the thought, distraction 
  • Avoiding situations that may trigger our obsessions
  • Avoid events and/or people 
  • Avoid situations of responsibility

When experiencing some obsessional thoughts, we may fear telling health professionals about what they relate to. We may fear being labelled or that people will consider us to be a risk. But health professionals will usually see our obsessional thoughts as a symptom of our condition, and they will use the information to think about the right support and treatment for you. Professionals have specialist training to distinguish between OCD symptoms and active risk.


Impact on Functioning


As with all mental health conditions, for some people the condition impacts many areas of their lives and this is evident, this is something we can see, for example the impact can be on our:

  • Relationships
  • Routine daily activities
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Work/education
  • Social life

However, for some people we cannot evidently see their difficulties, they may be attending work, engaging socially, continuing their usual activities. In clinic we use a metaphor of a duck swimming on a pond. We can seem to be moving without effort, gliding through life, just like the duck on the water. However, while we may appear fine on appearance, we can be paddling very hard underwater, struggling where people cannot see. No matter the visible impact upon your daily functioning, we are here to support you to overcome the current difficulties you are experiencing.


Treatment Options for OCD

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

Open the door to a better future today, contact our friendly team by using the contact form below.

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