Is a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. For example, someone with a fear of their house being burgled may feel that they need to check windows and door locks several times before they can leave the house. OCD symptoms can range from mild to severe and people with OCD may spend several hours a day engaged in obsessive compulsive thinking and behaviour or it can completely take over their life.
Although many people experience minor obsessions (e.g. worrying about leaving the gas on, or if the door is locked) and compulsions (e.g. rituals, like avoiding the cracks in the pavement), these don’t significantly interfere with their daily lives, or are short-lived.
If you experience OCD, your obsessions and compulsions will cause you considerable fear and distress. They will also take up a significant amount of time and disrupt your ability to carry on with your day-to-day to life, including doing daily chores, going to work, or maintaining relationships with friends and family.
Many people with OCD experience feelings of shame and loneliness which often stop them from seeking help, particularly if they experience distressing thoughts about subjects such as religion, sex or violence. This means that many people try to cope with OCD alone, until the symptoms are so severe they can’t hide them anymore.
Although everyone will have their own experiences, there are several common obsessions and compulsions that occur as part of OCD.
The three most common themes are:
- unwanted thoughts about harm or aggression
- unwanted sexual thoughts
- unwanted blasphemous thoughts
You might find that some objects or experiences make your obsessions or compulsions worse, and you try to avoid them as a result. For example, if you fear contamination, you might avoid eating and drinking anywhere except in your own home. Avoiding things can have a major impact on your life.
For more information see: