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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
It affects men, women and children and can develop at any age. Some people develop the condition early, often around puberty, but it typically develops during early adulthood.
OCD can be distressing and significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control.
Symptoms of OCD
If you have OCD, you'll usually experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
For example, someone with an obsessive fear of their house being burgled may feel they need to check all the windows and doors are locked several times before they can leave the house.
Getting help for OCD
People with OCD are often reluctant to seek help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed.
But there's nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It's a health condition like any other – it doesn't mean you're "mad" and it's not your fault you have it.
There main way to get help is to look for therapist.
If you think a friend or family member may have OCD, try talking to them about your concerns and suggest they seek help.
OCD is unlikely to get better without proper treatment and support.
Treatments for OCD
There are some effective treatments for OCD that can help reduce the impact the condition has on your life.
The main treatments are:
psychological therapy – usually a special type of cognitive behavioural therapy (C.B.T.) that helps you face your fears and obsessive thoughts without "putting them right" with compulsions
medication – usually a type of antidepressant medication called selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that can help by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain
C.B.T. will usually have an effect quite quickly. It can take several months before you notice the effects of treatment with SSRIs, but most people will eventually benefit.
Causes of OCD
It's not clear exactly what causes OCD. A number of different factors may play a role in the condition.
Living with OCD can be difficult getting right therapy will help you to get more control over your obsessions and compulsions.