OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER

If you’re worried your compulsions are getting out of hand, our online GPs can see you in minutes.

They'll be able to discuss your symptoms face-to-face on your smartphone, tablet or computer from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

It’s common to develop hang-ups about certain things like dirt, germs or making sure your house is locked properly.

However, for some people, everyday concerns can turn into obsessions and lead to compulsive behaviour like repeated hand-washing, or hoarding items.

The compulsions can become very serious and have a hugely negative impact on the sufferer’s daily life. If you’re experiencing symptoms like these, it’s possible you may have developed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Obsessive compulsive disorder can take many forms. We've already outlined a few ways in which it's commonly found, such as handwashing, repeated checking of things or getting anxious if things aren't set out a certain way.

OCD can be separated from simple quirkiness because it has four distinct stages:

  • Obsession - Your mind repeatedly urges you to do something
  • Anxiety - You grow anxious or distressed at the thought of not acting upon this obsession
  • Compulsion - You act upon your obessions to get rid of your anxiety
  • Relief - Your anxiety goes away. However, this is only temporary and the cycle begins again at a later time

As with many psychological conditions, people are quick to dismiss OCD sufferers, however, the condition can be very serious - in some cases, making it impossible to function properly.

OCD is typically treated with a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and medication - usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

If you think you may be suffering from the condition - don’t despair. OCD is manageable and with the right kind of help, you can live a perfectly normal life.

Talk to one of our doctors now to discuss your symptoms and a course of treatment to help you start feeling better.

While the exact causes of obsessive compulsive disorder aren’t known - it’s thought that a number of factors contribute to its development.

For instance, some studies have shown that the condition tends to be passed down among families - suggesting genetics may play a role.

Similarly, brain chemistry in those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder has been shown to differ from those who don’t have it - in particular an imbalance in serotonin levels.

It’s a fairly common condition, affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and is prevalent among both men and women.