Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety related illness which involves distressing and repetitive thoughts and behaviours.

Although many people experience minor obsessions (such as worrying if the door is locked) and compulsions (such as avoiding the cracks in the pavement), these don't significantly interfere with daily life, or are short-lived.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as 'mental discomfort' rather than anxiety).

Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.

Common Experiences of OCD

  • Fear of contamination.
  • Fear of causing harm to someone else.
  • Fear of behaving unacceptably.
  • Need for symmetry or exactness.

Lots of people have misconceptions about OCD. Some people think it just means you wash your hands a lot or you like things to be tidy. They might even make jokes about it, or describe themselves as a 'little bit OCD'. This stigma can make OCD difficult to talk about.

Personal Story

“I find the stigma I experience in relation to living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) comes in the form of a damaging misconception of what the illness actually is.

“Statements like 'I am so OCD about that' have in fact become part of everyday discourse and have framed OCD as a quirky frivolous personality trait often used in the context of humour.

“The truth is OCD is a very serious illness and can be so debilitating and disabling that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has ranked OCD in the top ten of the most disabling illnesses of any kind, in terms of lost earnings and diminished quality of life.

“Making light of OCD as an illness is very harmful and often deters people from seeking the help they need.  People need to know they are not alone; that this is a very common illness and more importantly with the right help and support people can and do recover.”

– Christine

Read Christine's story here

More Information