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Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) - medical information

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects around three in every hundred people.

It is a serious anxiety related condition and affects people of all ages.

Causes of OCD

  • It is said that most people will experience some aspects of the condition at times of stress but some people will be very seriously affected and this is when getting on with life can become very difficult.
  • It is thought that some people may be more suseptable to OCD if they have a history of OCD within the family, also young people who are more prone to worrying about things appear to develop symptoms of OCD.

Symptoms of OCD

  • In general sufferers experience thoughts and images that are repetitive and intrusive along with impulses and doubts which they find hard to ignore. The compulsive element of the disorder can lead to sufferers carrying out rituals or movements repetitively in the hope that this will alleviate some of the fears and anxiety
  • Common obsessions may include contamination and germs, causing harm to oneself or to others.  
  • Upsetting sexual, violent or blasphemous thoughts, the ordering or arrangement of objects and worries about throwing things away are also common.
  • Compulsions can be described as purposeful and repetitious acts that the person feels compelled to carry out. These may include actions such as repetitive hand washing, cleaning, checking, counting and hoarding.

Treatment for OCD

  • Treatments for OCD include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and medication.
  • CBT has been found to be an effective treatment for many sufferers. Medication alone is not considered an appropriate method of treatment but used alongside other therapies has been shown to be effective.
  • Sufferers of OCD may also suffer from depression, self harm or even attempt suicide.