Obsessive–compulsive disorder is a chronic condition causing people to have a number of obsessions (persistent, intrusive, uncomfortable thoughts) and compulsions (behaviours that feel obligatory and are repeated, over and over). This most commonly translates into a need to check things repeatedly, perform certain routines (called “rituals”), or have certain thoughts circling endlessly. Although people with OCD know their thoughts and rituals are irrational, they find it excruciatingly difficult to stop them. Common rituals include counting, hand washing, arranging or alphabetising things, and ceaseless cleaning. Rituals can become very time consuming and distressing, interfering with life in significant ways. Unwanted thoughts often have to do with warding off danger that might come to loved ones, or forbidden thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm. OCD is considered an anxiety disorder, and comes with an increased risk of suicide. It causes great distress and unhappiness.
OCD is not uncommon, affecting about 2-3% of people. The cause is unknown, but there are associations with genetics and early childhood trauma. Generally, the most effective treatment includes medication and psychotherapy. Skilful use of CBT and MBCT have been shown to be particularly effective. We offer you these services and welcome you to Support Counselling to get the help you need to free yourself of this persistent and painful way of being.