Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Most people experience the occasional upsetting and odd out-of-the-blue thought or double-check something they know they have already done, like going back to make sure the stove is off or the car is locked. However, individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have these types of experiences repeatedly and frequently and find them so frustrating and upsetting, or so time-consuming that they interfere with day-to-day life.​

Key Points

OCD  is characterised by:

Many people with OCD experience both obsessions and compulsions, whilst others have only one or the other. Obsessions are not merely worries about everyday concerns, and compulsions are not simply habits. The symptoms of OCD are often upsetting or embarrassing to the individual and can lead to significant avoidance of situations which trigger their OCD thoughts or behaviours. The repeated behaviours or rituals are generally carried out to reduce anxiety, or with the idea that it will prevent a feared situation, however, the temporary relief provided by these behaviours and the individual’s reliance on them to manage anxiety is actually part of the OCD cycle. As the worrying thought returns, anxiety or distress increases, and the individual feels the urge to repeat the OCD behaviour to experience the same relief.  This doesn’t provide a long term solution; however, and the cycle repeats itself.


Common compulsive thoughts include:

Common compulsive behaviours include excessive or repeated:

Seeking Help

If you are experiencing symptoms of OCD and find that they are affecting your work, school, or home life, a psychologist may be able to help. Psychologists are highly trained and qualified professionals, skilled in diagnosing and treating a range of mental health concerns, including OCD. A psychologist can help you to identify and address factors that might be contributing to your anxiety or other symptoms.

If you are experiencing similar problems, please contact us.