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  • Upbeat Liverpool

What is OCD?

Have you ever experienced that voice of doom?


The one that tells you, right after you’ve left the house, that you haven’t locked all the doors or windows… or whispers in your ear that you’ve left the water running.


Or perhaps it taunts you that, because you haven’t completed that certain routine perfectly, you’ll be cursed with bad luck for the rest of the day.


Maybe it will even try to scare you, telling you that you’re bound to crash if you drive in your car.


To have these intrusive thoughts from time to time can be very unpleasant – but can be quite common. However, if you’re finding them becoming more and more frequent and obsessive then it could be a sign of OCD.


OCD (obsessive - compulsive disorder) is a mental health condition where a person suffers from obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.



These obsessive thoughts are repetitive and unwelcomed, they include images, feelings, worries and doubts that don’t seem to go away no matter what you do.


For example: I’m not a capable driver. I am going to drive this car and crash it and someone will get hurt.


Compulsive behaviours tend to be triggered by these obsessive thoughts. Behaviour includes carrying out physical and / or mental acts to try and reduce the stress caused by the obsessive thinking.


For example: If I clean this counter surface ten times nothing bad will happen to me today.


Compulsions and obsessions can take up many hours of a person’s day and have a deeply detrimental effect on an individual’s life.


In fact, OCD can become so severe that sufferers may avoid doing certain activities, or / and avoid going outside all together.


The exact cause of OCD remains unclear, experts do believe however that is could be shaped by an individual’s personal experience and biological factors.


An example of a personal experience may be if someone was bullied as a child. To deal with the stress and anxiety of the situation the individual may use obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours as a coping mechanism.


As for biological factors, it is suggested that a lack of the brain chemical serotonin may play a role. However, it is unclear whether this is a cause or a side effect of the condition.


Fortunately, there are very effective treatments out there for OCD which can help reduce and manage symptoms. This includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) combined with another therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).


CBT and ERP is considered the golden treatment for tackling OCD, with the focus being on recognising and reforming negative behaviours and thought patterns, helping build inner resilience and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

 

If you feel that you are suffering from the symptoms of OCD then it’s so very important you know there is hope out there. Please share your concerns and confide with a trusted GP or a mental health professional.

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