OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is an anxiety disorder. In general, people will experience recurring or unwanted thoughts (obsessions). The compulsion is the behaviour performed to ‘put right’ the obsession. So for example, if people are obsessed with germs or dirt, they may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again.
These compulsions or repetitive behaviours such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often carried out with the hope of preventing the obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these rituals can give some temporary relief from the anxiety.
Lots of people have rituals, such as checking to see if the stove is off several times before leaving the house. The difference is that people with OCD perform their rituals even though doing so interferes with daily life and they find the repetition distressing.
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If you are worried about yourself, or someone close to you, it is worth discussing your concerns with your GP. For services in Manchester click here.