OCD is distressing to the sufferer and often the wider family too. It is characterised by obsessive worrying about a particular perceived threat, such as fear of contamination by radioactive substances, fear that the home may be burgled, fear of contracting disease, etc. Or the worries may be more vague – a general fear that something dreadful is going to happen. The ‘C’ part of OCD refers to actions that are compulsively carried out as a set of rituals intended to neutralise the threat. For example, someone who obsessively worries about their home being burgled may develop a ritual involving locking the front door, then repeatedly checking it before leaving the house. In OCD, both the obsession and the compulsive rituals are distressing and, if ignored, may mushroom into something much bigger as the sense of compulsion increases.
Often the OCD sufferer knows that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational, but that doesn’t stop the obsession or the compulsive rituals – they feel compelled to continue despite knowing that what they are thinking and doing doesn’t make sense. This self-conflict is known as cognitive dissonance and can actually make the OCD worse because the person becomes more and more distressed, thereby setting up a vicious cycle.
If you are interested in finding out more about OCD, there is a wealth of information on the OCD-UK website here: https://www.ocduk.org/
I do not diagnose conditions such as OCD, but if you feel you may be suffering from OCD or if you have already been diagnosed with OCD, I offer counselling based on CBT, mindfulness and somatic awareness to help you reduce the anxiety associated with your obsessions and compulsions, gain perspective on your mental processes and recover from obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour.