Everyone has days when they need to check that they’ve locked the door a few times. Often this is when we are tired, over-busy or stressed about something.
Some people may get into a cycle of doing things again and again when worries take hold.
Obsessions are unwanted thoughts or images which may come into a person’s head and cause anxiety or distress.
Compulsions are rituals or acts that are carried out to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessive thought.
Common obsessions include:
Compulsions are acts that can be observed, such as repeated hand washing, cleaning, checking, hair pulling, hoarding; or they may be mental rituals like counting, saying a prayer or repeating words or phrases. Other people may avoid certain colours or numbers.
Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) often realise that what they are doing is excessive or irrational but may be unable to control it. This may result in low self esteem and depression. Many individuals with the disorder appear to function normally: they keep their OCD a secret.
Obsessive compulsive disorder often starts in childhood or as a teenager and it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
Recognising your OCD and finding out more information is an important first step in getting help:
NHS Choices is a national website which contains information and real life stories
The OCD UK website
The OCD Action website
The Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma's website has a comprehensive section on OCD