What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is often misunderstood and usually represented in mainstream culture as someone washing their hands, cleaning, or counting repeatedly. 

Though OCD is categorised as an anxiety problem, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has signs and symptoms of its own that distinguish it from pure anxiety.  For example, often people with OCD demonstrate high standards for themselves, perfectionism or “all or nothing” thinking.

This post is aimed to help you identify the main symptoms of OCD and to help you identify the the best treatments for OCD if you feel this is something you or a loved on is having difficulty with. 

Intrusive and/or Obsessive Thoughts

Though many people may expect to notice OCD from observing repetitive behaviours, such as someone repeatedly washing their hands, scrubbing their home, or checking doors a certain number of times. 

Very often however, one of the hidden symptoms of OCD can be intrusive and/or obsessive thoughts.

While behavioural signs are valid and often the first things noticed when people seek OCD treatment, Newcastle Psychologist & Counselling’s psychologists also recognise that OCD might also cause intrusive and obsessive thinking can lead to distress and anxiety for the sufferer.

Often, these intrusive thoughts can cause upset and add an extra layer of worry or anxiety.   Often these thoughts are related to someone being hurt or dying, acting out their own unwanted behaviour, or something catastrophic happening (such as going to hell, or a plane crash happening) if they don’t think about it.

Similarly obsessive thoughts can cause problems with insomnia and difficulty sleeping, as well as lead to depression and avoidance of engaging with the outside world.

Compulsive Behaviours

The repetitive acts a person with OCD might engage in are often called “compulsions” and make up the second part of the “Obsessive-Compulsive” problem. 

When experiencing compulsions, the person with OCD feels an urge or overwhelming compulsion to respond to their intrusive thoughts.

Repeated behaviours such as checking something (for example, seeing if the door has been locked) a certain number of times are common, and it can feel as if doing the behaviour itself will actually prevent something bad and/or catastrophic from happening.

Often the person with OCD recognises that the behaviour doesn’t necessarily make sense, however the urge or compulsion can be so powerful that they feel they need to do it anyway. 

Our team of psychologists and therapists can help those suffering from these urges and compulsions to take control and overcome their unwanted behaviour to reduce anxiety and distress.

Therapies for OCD: CBT for OCD and ACT for OCD

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for OCD and other approaches (such as Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches) can help you develop skills in managing the way you think (including obsessive and intrusive thinking), and also give you more choice over your compulsions and urges. 

In turn, you will be able to develop healthier ways of thinking, and break the vicious cycle that keeps OCD going.

Dr Stuart Sadler (Clinical Psychologist) at Newcastle Psychologist & Counselling leads an experienced team of clinical psychologists, therapists and counsellors in Newcastle who are able to help you with proven psychological approaches for tackling OCD and even its related problems like anxiety, stress, and depression.

OCD can be difficult to live with and can cause problems with your health, relationship, and life at home or at work.  For many people, OCD can impact on their performance and happiness at work and at home, leading to difficulties with day to day functioning.

As so much time is taken up with intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours, it is important to get the help you need.  

Contact Us Today

If you would like to discuss your situation to see whether our counsellors, therapists or clinical psychologists can help you overcome your OCD, whether face to face or online via Skype, Zoom, Facetime or WhatsApp video, contact us by filling in the box below or call us on 07966 645 198.

Best wishes,

Dr Stuart Sadler

Chartered Clinical Psychologist

Newcastle Psychologist & Counselling


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