Updated: Mar 27

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a fear and anxiety-based disorder and affects around 1.2% of the UK population. In 1990 the WHO ranked OCD in the global top ten for the leading cause in disabilities regarding quality of life and lack of income. The cause of this condition has been widely debated and scientist have not come up with a definite cause but have many different theories, from hereditary to environmental. This condition has two main factors, and they are obsessions and compulsions, frequent intrusive thoughts are referred to as an obsession. Obsessions can vary in levels of stressed caused to person with OCD and often cause someone with this condition to perform repetitive behaviour or rituals to avoid any perceived harm.

Obsessions can manifest different types of behaviour including constant reassurance seeking, avoidance of places, objects, and people. Compulsions however can be a repetitiveness of checking body parts, blinking or even counting internally. Compulsions give temporary relief to the distress caused by obsessions and once triggered again acts of compulsions will begin and over time may become more of a habit or routine which can stay with a person long after they process original triggers. Obsessive compulsive disorder can present itself in many ways and should not just be thought of in a stereotypical way as such as hand washing and cleaning. In fact, if a person is suffering from OCD it will have an impact on some if not all aspects of daily life.

Common manifestations within OCD are checking, contamination, mental contamination, hoarding, rumination, instructive thoughts and symmetry and orderliness. Checking can happen several times a day u to hundreds of times in one day and can last for an hour or even longer which has a clear impact on a person’s day. Checking can include reassurance, memories, oven, electrical appliances, pregnancy, sexual transmitted diseases, cars, and other valuable items. The fear of being contaminated is an obsessional worry and may manifest in a variety of ways including avoiding public toilets, public phones, door handles, sex, doctor’s surgery, hospitals, handrails, money, crowds, and the outdoors. Mental contamination is usually triggered when a person is treated harshly or abusively and makes the person with the condition feel inwardly dirty and does not come from physical contact.

The inability to discard dilapidated items or collection of useless items is considered hoarding and a person with OCD can hoard due to obsessions. Rumination is a deep thought or a reoccurring question and theme and with most ruminations they go unanswered and leaves the person detached and pre-occupied. Instructive thoughts can be obsessional and can leave the person with OCD with violent, magical, religious, sexual or body focused as can cause a person extreme stress as some thoughts may be beyond their own comprehension. Symmetry and orderliness mean that a person suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder may feel the dispute to line everything up in their own environment and have everything in perfect order and if it’s not in order the person can become agitated at the thought of something going wrong.

If you or a loved one are presenting symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder it may be wise to consult your GP for treatment options as counselling may likely be suggested as a treatment as it is known to work well in people with OCD. Counselling may be paired with medication as OCD can affect a person’s serotonin levels.

If you would like further information on booking some one-to-one counselling sessions to help you on the road to recovery from OCD please get in touch with us at Therapeutic Counselling on 01209718246/07974 845549.

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