The term ‘OCD’ is often thrown around, but it is in fact a serious and debilitating anxiety disorder that affects 1 in 50 people in the UK.  Sufferers experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours that can, and often do, significantly impact work, relationships, and life.

Get Help With Thishttps://booking.setmore.com/scheduleappointment/a8f107ea-a719-4c6f-a9e5-6b196682c27d/services/s93a224fc7559d85c748ebac20ae8f5fe8657dbbe?source=settingsWhat Is OCD?

“I’m a bit OCD” is common parlance because we all possess traits that are somewhat obsessive or compulsive.  OCD is more than this.  It’s an anxiety disorder that is characterised by obsessions, compulsions, and irrational and unhelpful beliefs.  It’s also highly distressing because of how time-consuming and draining it can be, which can be highly disruptive for daily life, relationships, and other obligations like work.

 

Unhelpful beliefs: These underpin OCD and relate to a fear about something.  For example, someone might be a perfectionist and worry about falling short in some way, some people overestimate danger and therefore feel they must do things to protect themselves or their loved ones.  Some people feel overly responsible meaning they overcompensate, and yet, for others a fear of uncertainty means they prepare excessively for things.

Obsessions: These are frequent and repetitive unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that relate to unhelpful beliefs and feel intrusive.  They are hard to control or ignore which makes them very anxiety provoking or distressing.

Compulsions: To manage obsessive and intrusive thoughts, and attempt control and relief, individuals feel compelled to do something.  Compulsions are behaviours or rituals and can be physical or mental.  For example, if someone is obsessively worrying about the safety of their family, they may be compelled to check locks multiple times, believing that this will protect their family.  Or a mental compulsion might be when someone believes they have to count up to a certain number in their head, believing this will offer some kind of relief about the obsessive anxiety.

 

Most OCD sufferers are aware their thoughts are irrational, making it more frustrating as they are unable to stop from acting on compulsions.  The momentary relief gained, reinforces the behaviour.  Unfortunately this relief is short term, and only maintains the problem in the long term, often increasing the frequency of obsessions and compulsions.  The solution (i.e., compulsive ritual) becomes the problem because it maintains OCD.

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