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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a very distressing problem which can be different for each person.

OCD is when you experience obsessive thoughts (also known as ‘intrusions’) and compulsive behaviours that interfere with your daily life. Obsessions and compulsions can occur together, but it’s also possible to have one without the other.

Symptoms may include:

  • Unpleasant thoughts or images pop into your mind when you don’t want them, without any warning.
  • Repeatedly checking things more often than necessary, e.g. locks, switches, or appliances.
  • Washing and cleaning obsessively.
  • Collecting things that you don’t need.
  • Becoming upset if objects are not arranged properly.
  • Praying to cancel out bad thoughts or feelings.
  • Going back to places to make sure that you have not harmed anyone.
  • Repeating certain words or phrases in your mind to wipe out bad thoughts, feelings, or actions.

The compulsions are what you do to feel less distressed by the intrusive thoughts. Although the compulsions may seem irrational, you are feel like you have to carry them out to feel better.

But the relief is only short-lived, because the intrusions return and often become stronger. This makes it harder to resist the urge to carry out the compulsions.

This can have a huge impact on your life, taking up a lot of time and preventing you from doing things that you enjoy.

Get support for OCD

You can learn more about OCD in the booklet and video on this page.