Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is an anxiety disorder in which someone experiences recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or ritual behaviours (compulsions). At least one-third of adult OCD cases begin in childhood.
What are the signs?
We all sometimes feel the need to double-check that the door is locked or the cooker is switched off, but for people with OCD, these obsessions take over their lives. The symptoms are two-fold, alternating between obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. Some people may display either one type of symptom or the other.
Obsessive thoughts may include:
- Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt
- Imagining that you have harmed yourself or others
- Imagining losing control, or having aggressive urges
- Intrusive sexual thoughts or urges
- Excessive religious or moral doubt
- A need to have things in order
- A need to tell, ask or confess
Rituals (compulsions) are often a result of these obsessive thoughts. Probably the best-known example is hand-washing. Other rituals include:
- Ordering or arranging
- Hoarding or saving
- Touching others inappropriately
- Repeating things
- Constant checking