Obsessive compulsive disorder is a chronic condition that affects up to three per cent of the UK population –yet is widely misunderstood.
This week is OCD Week, organised by national charity OCD Action to help promote a better understanding of the illness.
OCD sufferers experience repetitive and terrifying thoughts and, or, behaviours.
They may develop obsessions about almost anything, including fears of acting violenty; abhorrent, blasphemous or sexual thoughts, or fears that things like household appliances are not safe.
Obsessions are automatic, frequent, distressing and difficult to control.
To escape their fear, many sufferers develop compulsions such as checking, touching, countin g and arranging. Some sufferers also carry out mental compulsions such as repeating words, counting or praying, or analysing thoughts to ‘solve’ distressing questions. They carry out compulsions to reassure themselves there is no danger, and feel forced to perform them.
OCD is a highly treatable condition and help is available through the NHS, which may offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and, or, antidepressants, depending on the severity of symptoms.
In CBT the therapist teaches the sufferer how to manage their condition effectively.
For further information about OCD, visit www.ocdaction.org.uk.