Thanks to the world of entertainment people tend to think of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as an irrational need for order and extreme cleanliness. It is, in fact, a broader set of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours such as rituals.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
An obsession might manifest as regular unwanted and unpleasant thoughts, mental images, ideas or urges, which repeatedly enter the mind. These obsessions may cause negative feelings such as anxiety, guilt, disgust and unease.
Compulsion, on the other hand, is characterised as repetitive behaviour or a repeated set of thoughts that the sufferer believes must be carried out in order to relievethe unpleasant feelings that arise from the obsessive thought.
These behaviours tend to develop over time as a self-managed solution to the obsessive thoughts at least partly in order to reduce their impact on everyday life. The compulsive behaviours often have similar sorts of impacts themselves.
OCD, Anxiety and Trauma.
OCD is closely related to anxiety (link to anxiety page), and sometimes to trauma (link to trauma page). While it is common to have occasional anxious thoughts, a person suffering OCD might think constantly about a particular possibility.
They may develop a compulsion such as checking the door is locked dozens of times before leaving in order to be able to leave their home, but the obsessive thoughts will soon return and persist, affecting them the entire time they are away from home. Other obsessive thoughts may include unwelcome violent or sexual images and the thought of doing harm to the self or others, fear of contamination and the need for order.
These violent or sexual thoughts can be frightening because the person experiencing the obsessive thoughts knows that they are only thoughts and that they would never act on them.
Treatment for OCD
Paula has had great success in treating clients with Obsessive Compulsive disorder over the past twenty years, including identifying and treating underlying causes of anxiety and obsessive thoughts as well as the symptoms of OCD.
Working with Paula to gain an understanding of the condition is very useful in enabling clients to overcome OCD. Paula uses Psychotherapeutic and Cognitive Behavioural approaches as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is focused on emotions to treat OCD.Your GP may also provide medication as part of the treatment.