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OCD: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment explained

Dr Sarah Crawford, counselling psychologist at Nightingale Hospital, comments on the symptoms, treatment and diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) affects roughly 1.2% of the UK population, equating to 12 in 1000 people.

OCD is often thought of in individuals who like order and symmetry, however it is much more than that,” says Dr Sarah Crawford.

Common themes of obsession are: fear of causing harm or failing to prevent harm, unwanted sexual thoughts, unwanted religious thoughts and fear of contamination.

Compulsions are repetitive activities that a person feels they have to do. The aim of a compulsion is to try and deal with the distress caused by obsessive thoughts.

So for instance, if someone has a fear of harming a housemate through leaving the oven on then they may engage in an obsessive ritual to check the hob multiple times to neutralise this obsessive thought before being able to leave the house,” says Dr Crawford.

The two main treatments for OCD are psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication, to help alter the chemicals in the brain.

Read the full blog entry for symptoms of OCD, treatment options for OCD and the diagnosis of OCD.

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