Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety related condition characterised by obsessive, unwanted thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
The obsession are very distressing and are based around fear of something unpleasant happening, the compulsive behaviour is an effort the individual feels compelled to do, in order to protect them against the fear and reduce the feelings of anxiety. The compulsive responses do provide temporary relief from the feelings of anxiety, in the long term it reinforces the cycle of the unwanted behaviour.
Signs and Symptoms
Common obsessive thoughts in OCD include:
- Forbidden thoughts.
- Fearing contamination.
- Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others.
- Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others.
- Fear flossing of not having things you might need.
- Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered luck or unlucky .
Common compulsive behaviours in OCD include;
- Excessive double checking of things, such as locks, appliances or switches.
- Spending a lot of time washing, cleaning or organising.
- Counting, tapping, relating certain words to help reduce anxiety.
- Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they are safe.
- Focusing on the number of times to conduct a behaviour.
How can Therapy help
Therapy will be a safe space, where you can speak to a professional about what you are going through and how this is affecting your Mental health and daily functioning. Your therapist can help you understand you triggers and the potential underlying causes to your development of OCD, providing you a space to speak about any issues or problems you have experienced in your lifetime. yOur therapist will help you break down your thoughts, feelings and actions, using exposure and response prevention, they will gradually encourage you to face your fears and let the obsessive thoughts occur without the need to engage in compulsive behaviours, this will be at a gradual and steady pace to best suit you.