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Occasionally most of us have anxious thoughts, like “did I lock the door?”, often leading us to check the door is locked. Approximately nine out of ten people also experience intrusive thoughts or images that are disturbing to them (e.g. “what if a loved one has a car accident?”). However, some people experience thoughts, images or impulses more frequently that are accompanied by distress. Such distress can cause compulsions – repetitive behaviours or mental acts – that can also be caused by rigid rules or unrelated distress. The presence of Obsessions or Compulsions is called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
What are the signs and symptoms of OCD?
- Reoccurring thoughts, images or impulses that are experienced as disturbing and intrusive, and that cause significant distress and anxiety
- Significant attempt is made to ignore or suppress intrusive thoughts, images or impulses, or to neutralise these thoughts with another thought or action (including compulsions)
- Compulsions including repetitive behaviours – for example, hand-washing, ordering objects, or checking – or mental acts – praying, counting, repeating words quietly
- Compulsions are aimed to reduce distress or prevent a dreaded event or situation from occurring. However, such compulsions are seen by the individual as clearly excessive or not connected to the anxious thought, image or impulse.
How do Obsessions and Compulsions affect me?
- It’s exhausting! OCD can feel never ending, as it disrupts daily activities and special events, where you just want to relax and enjoy yourself.
- It can affect your relationships, with your loved ones often feeling frustrated by the disruptive and excessive nature of compulsions. Sometimes OCD can feel embarrassing when you feel compelled to enact a compulsion in front of others. This can lead to social isolation.
- Intense anxiety experienced can cause the individual to feel depressed and other mental health difficulties can occur, such as substance abuse.
- Work performance can be impacted. Compulsions can cause you to run late for work and or affect your ability to stay focused. You may need to avoid certain situations to reduce distress or exposing your compulsions to others.
How can I treat my OCD?
There are several well-researched treatments that are effective in treating OCD, including: Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Self-Help and medication.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are experienced and trained in treating psychological difficulties like OCD. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.