Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Are you worried about contact with dirt or germs and wash your hands repeatedly? Do you have to check the taps and cooker several times before you leave the house? Are you fearful that you might have caused an accident; given offence to somebody or even that you have committed a terrible crime? If so then you may have OCD. This is a relatively common condition that takes on many forms and often goes undiagnosed.

We can give a full assessment to confirm this diagnosis, provide explanation and provide help using modern evidence-based treatments.

OCD is a relatively common condition affecting 1-2% of the population, where an individual experiences unwanted intrusive thoughts which serve to raise anxiety levels. Examples include fear of contamination from dirt or germs, worry about adverse events occurring, over concern regarding symmetry or ordering of objects (size, colour etc). These thoughts are often accompanied by compulsive rituals- a drive to neutralize the obsession by performing a behaviour such as checking, washing, ordering or repeating an action. Although the rituals serve to reduce anxiety short term they re-enforce the obsession and create a need for further rituals until a person can become caught up in a cycle of OCD behaviour which takes over their life.

Treatments include exposure with response prevention and cognitive behaviour therapy. Not all CBT therapists are experienced in this type of work, so we can guide you to ones that are. Medication which increases serotonin levels can also be helpful.