Obsessive compulsive disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-related condition which can be severe. If you have OCD you will experience recurrent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges.

Obsessions are persistent, unwanted thoughts, pictures, urges or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind and interrupt your thoughts against your control, despite trying to resist them. They can be really frightening, graphic and disturbing. They invariably may make you feel anxious, disgusted or 'mentally uncomfortable' (ego dystonic) and you are unlikely to act on them.

There are four descriptive categories of OCD

  • Intrusive Thoughts / Ruminations
  • Checking Compulsions
  • Contamination / Mental Contamination
  • Hoarding

Intrusive thoughts can cover absolutely any subject but some common obsessional thoughts include:

  • Fear of losing control and causing harm or failing to prevent harm
  • Sexually inappropriate thoughts and /or images that may be violent or about minors
  • Violent thoughts and /or images that make you think you are dangerous or a criminal
  • Blasphemous thoughts against your religious belief system
  • Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others or mental contamination
  • Fears and worries related to order or symmetry and orderliness

Common checking compulsions include:

  • Appliances and candles (fear of fire and explosions)
  • Taps (fear of flooding)
  • Alarms and locks and windows (fear of burglary)
  • Illnesses and symptoms online

The checking is sometimes carried out hundreds of times, and for hours on end, resulting in the person being late for work, dates and other appointments. This can have a serious impact on all aspects of day to day functioning. Appliances can also be damaged through wear and tear

Contamination – the need to clean because there is an obsessive fear of germs that may cause illness or death and contamination. Washing or cleaning is the compulsive ritual/act. The cleaning or washing is often carried out multiple times often accompanied by rituals of repetitive hand or body washing, often resulted in excoriated, painful skin.

The fear can be related to anything, commonly:

  • Public toilets, telephones, institutions (hospitals)
  • Contact with body secretions, blood or chemicals
  • Bathrooms and kitchens
  • Public laundrettes
  • Shaking hands
  • Touching doorknobs, bannisters etc.

Mental contamination can be as a result of when a person perhaps felt badly treated through critical or verbally abusive remarks. It is almost as if they are made to feel like dirt, which creates a feeling of internal uncleanliness

Hoarding has often been considered a symptom of OCD. There is persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. There is compulsive and excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.

If you think you suffer from any form of anxiety disorder and would like a more detailed assessment with advice regarding a treatment plan (Psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic) then please contact me.


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