About OCD

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that intrude into a individuals mind and cause a great deal of anxiety or discomfort, which the person then tries to reduce by engaging in repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions).
Common Themes:
  • Fear that you will intentionally, or accidentally, hurt yourself or others
  • Fear of contamination through illness, cross infection through contact with germs, actual or perceived objectionable substances, dirt or dust
  • Superstitious thoughts
  • Intrusive thoughts, urges, – you are a dangerous person; you might be a pedophile; your personal relationships are in doubt
  • Unwanted images flashing through your mind of certain things happening

Compulsive Actions

Because of the anxiety created by the obsession, compulsive actions are developed in the hope that the anxiety will be relieved.  This is usually very logical.  For example if someone is struggling with thoughts that something terrible might happen to a loved one unless they take a particular action, it makes sense that they are likely to do that action to prevent the ‘bad thing’ happening.  Some people might believe that there is either a high risk of a disaster happening, or that their anxiety will not decrease unless they do something to deal with the thought that is on their mind.

Typical Examples are:

  • Rituals – house cleaning, hand and body washing,
  • The need to keep objects in a specific, ordered arrangement – in lines, grouped in pairs, everything in a specific place – orderliness
  • Excessive checking that activities have been done – locking windows and doors repeatedly
  • Excessively detailed diary planning
  • Hoarding certain objects or struggling to throw things away
  • Asking for reassurance about things more often than seems reasonable
  • Counting numbers or thinking about specific words
  • Avoiding geographical places or situations that might trigger obsessions or intensify them
  • Mental compulsions

OCD can manifest in many different ways the above are just common examples but it truly can take many different forms.


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