60 Second Facfile: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that causes the sufferer to have intrusive, irrational and repetitive negative thoughts (obsessions), which they then feel they have to act on in order to lessen their anxiety (compulsion).
Symptoms of OCD vary according to the severity of the condition, but sufferers can find themselves unable to relax or concentrate until they have completed a certain ritual to ‘cure’ the original obsessive thought. Whilst this ritual can make the sufferer feel better at the time, it often kick-starts a cycle of checking or repetition that causes distress or further anxiety.
Like many mental health issues, treatment for OCD often involves a course of behavioural therapy. As the condition can also share symptoms with clinical depression, antidepressants may also be prescribed.
OCD is often thought to relate solely to an over-interest in hygiene, cleanliness or orderliness, but the anxiety cycle can manifest itself in many different ways. Classic OCD traits include hoarding, existential thinking or fear of causing harm to loved ones.