OCD Awareness Week is from 8-14 October 2017
Obsessive compulsive disorder OCD can be extremely disabling. It affects approximately 1.2% of the population in the UK. It is therefore much rarer than depression for example, but its effects are no less distressing for those who suffer from it and difficult to fathom for others who may be living with someone suffering from OCD.
There are two major types of OCD. One is mainly to do with obsessional rituals and acts, and the other is to do with obsessional thoughts and ruminations. Some obsessional rituals are frequently associated with counting rituals – the person has to count to a certain number whilst they are carrying out the task. If they do not get it absolutely correct, they have to keep repeating the ritual until it is “perfect”. This obviously takes a considerable amount of time and greatly interrupts the person’s life.
Regarding obsessional thoughts, there are two broad groups: a group of people who have obsessional thoughts about cleanliness and hygiene; and the other who group have obsessional thoughts about safety and security. Frequently, there is a mixture of both obsessional rituals and obsessional thoughts in the same illness and depending on the severity of the illness, the person’s life can be extremely difficult. In addition to this, chain reactions occur. If the person does not carry out some minor event, some major calamity will occur. This produces marked anxiety, and a vicious circle of anxiety leading to more obsessional thoughts and rituals.
OCD frequently occurs in early teens and can be traced back a long way in adult patients. Often the person has battled against it before they seek any psychiatric help. Sometimes medication can be helpful in treating the symptoms of the illness. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), either individually or in group situations, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and mindfulness are also useful for treating the symptoms associated with OCD
The vast majority of people with this illness can be helped with these treatment programmes, although there are some severe cases of OCD which remain resistant to all these conventional treatments. For a small proportion of sufferers with severe symptoms, admission to an in-patient psychiatric unit may even be necessary.
Further information on the symptoms of OCD and how it can be treated are explained in a video featuring consultant psychiatrist, Dr Adrian Winbow. The consultant psychiatrists at Private Psychiatry have many years’ experience in treating sufferers of OCD. To make an appointment with Dr Winbow or with any of the consultant psychiatrists, contact our main office.