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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

What Is It?

OCD is an anxiety related disorder that involves an individual experiencing obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions refer to unwanted thoughts, images or urges, such as fears of people you care about coming to harm or worries about germs and diseases.  These thoughts are often followed by a compulsion, which is an urge to do something that often is completed over and over again. Examples of compulsions include hand washing, counting or repeating phrases in your head. This cycle often starts with an obsessional thought, which causes anxiety. This anxiety then causes an individual to complete a compulsion, which then leads to a reduction in anxiety. This provides short term relief but in the long term, the OCD cycle is maintained.

What Might Help?

  • Speak with other people: Attend a support group. You can find details of support groups and online peer support on OCD UK and OCD Action.
  • Find ways to relax: Relaxation and mindfulness techniques including breathing techniques and meditation may be helpful when managing the anxiety associated with OCD.
  • Test your thoughts: If you feel able to, you could find ways to reduce/stop your compulsions and see whether the obsessional thought did come true or that it was just a worry.
  • Seek professional help: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can help you to explore alternative ways of thinking and challenge your beliefs through behavioural experiments.

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