Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Having the same distressing thoughts and urges again and again can be symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Find out more about OCD and what to do if you're affected by it.
What is ocd?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can be serious, but it's very treatable.
People with OCD have repeating thoughts, images or feelings that are distressing. They carry out rituals or habits (compulsions) to temporarily feel better.
OCD rituals can be obvious to other people (like checking door locks) or they can happen inside your head (like counting or trying to counteract negative thoughts with positive ones).
OCD thoughts come in all shapes and sizes, but they often revolve around things danger, dirt and contamination, or worries around sexuality or religion.
The symptoms of OCD
You might feel:
- Your mind being 'invaded' by horrible thought repeatedly
- Scared, disgusted, guilty, tearful, doubtful or depressed
- A powerful urge to do something to stop the feelings
- Temporary relief after rituals
- A need to ask for reassurance or get people to check things for you
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn't mean you're definitely affected by OCD, it's important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.
What to do
Take the first step - if you think you are affected by OCD, talk to someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, counsellor or friend.
It's important not to try and manage alone, as OCD normally needs treatment to get better.
Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service offered to young people aged 11 - 25 years (up to their 26th birthday) living in Dorset, Hampshire and the IoW with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional and mental health needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.
By accessing Kooth young people can benefit from a free, confidential, anonymous and safe way to receive support online, online counselling from a professional team of BACP qualified counsellors is available via 1-1 chat sessions or messaging on a drop in basis or via booked sessions including out of hours’ availability - counsellors are available from 12pm to 10pm on weekdays and 6pm to 10pm at weekends, every day of the year on a drop in basis.
No referral is required, young people can access the service directly and in complete confidence at www.kooth.com.
You should also see your GP. They may offer to refer you to the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS), an expert or a psychiatrist that can help you. If you live in Hampshire or on the Isle of Wight, the NHS 111 mental health triage service can provides advice, support and guidance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Mental Health Triage Team has a wide range of skills, including on the phone brief psychological support and has access to key services and organisations that can offer mental health support to you in your time of need. Just dial 111 or online at www.111.nhs.uk.
Click here to find out more about how CAMHS works
You might be offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) using a technique called exposure response prevention (ERP), which helps you feel less upset by your thoughts.
There are medications that can help too. Find out more about the drugs used to treat OCD.
where to get help
- OCD Action - a place for support and information to anybody affected by OCD (0845 390 6232)
- No Panic - the people to call if you are suffering from panic attacks, OCD, phobias and other related anxiety disorders (0844 967 4848)
- Childline - if you're under 19 you can confidentially call, e-mail or chat online about any problem big or small (0800 1111)