Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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When you mention the term OCD, the first thing we might think of is someone who washes their hands a lot, or has to have the house absolutely spotless at all time.

However, there’s a lot more to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder than you might think.

What is OCD? 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is characterised by repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing the anxiety and fear associated with intrusive thoughts. Obsessions (persistent, often irrational and seemingly uncontrollable thoughts ) are met with compulsions (actions which are used to neutralise the obsessions)

The causes of OCD are not fully understood. Research suggests that OCD may be related to chemical, structural, and functional abnormalities in the brain.

Genetic and hereditary factors may also play a role in the development of OCD. It’s most likely the result of several interacting factors and is affected by stressful life events, hormonal changes and personality traits.

Approximately 2-3% of people in Ireland experience OCD.

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With OCD you might realise your thoughts are irrational, but the obsessions and compulsions are difficult to resist.

You experience some obsessive thoughts and a particular compulsion with OCD. However, the intensity and frequency can vary, and it’s not uncommon for it to be worse when you are particularly stressed.

What are the signs of OCD? 

Examples of obsessions include:

  • fear of contamination or dirt
  • fear of harming yourself or others
  • intrusive sexual thoughts
  •  fear of illness
  • religious or moral issues.

Symptoms include: 

  • cleaning, doing or putting things in a particular order
  • washing
  • counting
  • hoarding
  • touching/repeating.

One example which is symptomatic is an individual who excessively washes or cleans because of uncontrollable thoughts about dirt, infection etc. Other examples include excessive hoarding, repeated checking and nervous rituals such as opening and closing a door several times for leaving or entering a room. Compulsive behaviours can also have particular triggers or become more intense in different contexts or periods of stress. In order for these behaviours to constitute OCD they must be frequent enough to interfere with everyday functioning

What can help?

Medication is often prescribed for people with OCD. Psychotherapy is beneficial in learning coping mechanisms and exploring the underlying issues associated with the obsessive thoughts.

Below is the MyMind team members who can help if you’re living with OCD. To book an appointment with us, book online below call 076 680 1060 or email hq@mymind.org

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For more information on OCD, visit OCD Ireland.