Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects approximately 1 in 50 people in the UK, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe (1-3 hours of engaging in obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours is considered a mild to moderate diagnosis). All sufferers will experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours which can have a serious impact on their everyday lives and also a profound impact on those around them.
Obsessions are unwanted, or unpleasant, repeating thoughts which cause the sufferer distress in the form of anxiety or disgust. The compulsion occurs when the OCD sufferer engages in a repetitive act in an attempt to relieve some of the mental distress created by the obsessive thought. The compulsion could be a repetitive act or thought process. Many individuals experience unwanted, unpleasant thoughts and can engage in compulsions, however these acts won't impact their lives to such a degree that they consider it is considered a problem, however for others with severe OCD it can be incapacitating.
Obsessions usually form around a theme, for example germs/ contamination. The sufferer frequently has thoughts of germs contaminating the house and then to alleviate the distress they engage in the act of cleaning to try to remove the germs and protect themselves and others. Many people are concerned about germs especially following the Covid pandemic, but for the OCD sufferer the obsessions and compulsions have a terrible impact on their lives, with some spending upwards of 3 hours a day cleaning leaving them exhausted and with little time for other activities.
Treatment OCD is usually treated with talking therapies although medicines can be helpful for those with severe symptoms.
CBT Treatment Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown to help sufferers of OCD by breaking the unhelpful thinking patterns. Contact Richard Smith at The London Psychologist Clinic for a free 15 minute consultation to learn more about how CBT can help you.
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