OCD is an anxiety disorder which can also make you feel down and stressed. We can all have unwanted thoughts which pop into our mind, like a worry we haven’t locked the door or a fear we could contract a disease from touching something. However, in OCD these intrusive thoughts can become obsessive – we can’t stop thinking about them and they interrupt our daily life.
Common obsessive thoughts can include:
- A need for order and symmetry – you need everything to be ‘just right’.
- A fear you could deliberately harm yourself or someone else – even though you don’t want to. This could also be a fear that you will sexually assault another adult or a child.
- A fear you could harm yourself or others by accident, for example if you left the cooker on and it started a fire.
- A fear of contamination to yourself or a loved one by a disease, an infection or another substance.
Compulsions are actions you carry to try and deal with the obsessive thoughts. For example, hand washing, checking something repeatedly such as the oven, cleaning excessively, or avoiding certain situations like using public toilets or visiting the GP. Some of these behaviours may be carried out internally as well, like counting to a certain number in your head. You can spend a lot of time doing these actions and they can restrict you and what you’re able to do.