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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Everyone has days when they need to check that they’ve locked the door a few times. Often this is when we are tired, over-busy or stressed about something.

Some people may get into a cycle of doing things again and again when worries take hold.

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts or images which may come into a person’s head and cause anxiety  or distress.

Compulsions are rituals or acts that are carried out to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessive thought.

Common obsessions include:

  • fear of germs or contamination
  • worrying about illness or losing loved ones
  • fear of failure
  • wanting to be happy

Compulsions are acts that can be observed, such as repeated hand washing, cleaning, checking, hair pulling, hoarding; or they may be mental rituals like counting, saying a prayer or repeating words or phrases.  Other people may avoid certain colours or numbers.

Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) often realise that what they are doing is excessive or irrational but may be unable to control it.  This may result in low self esteem and depression.                             Many individuals with the disorder appear to function normally: they keep their OCD a secret.

Obsessive compulsive disorder often starts in childhood or as a teenager and it’s important to get help as soon as possible. 

Getting help

Recognising your OCD and finding out more information is an important first step in getting help:

  •  Make an appointment with your GP (it is important to register with a Nottingham GP).  The University of Nottingham Health Service, based at Cripps Health Centre are very experienced in all aspects of mental health and can refer to specialist services. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating OCD. Visit OCD Action's website for more information.


Useful websites

NHS Choices is a national website which contains information and real life stories

The OCD UK website

The OCD Action website  


Source: OCD UK; OCD Action; Anxiety UK; Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma; NHS Choices.