Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - OCD Help

One in 50 people will develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder during their lives, with the condition known to run in families. It can be triggered by stressful situations and periods of depression. Help is available with Priory's dedicated OCD treatment clinics.

Getting lives back on track-

OCD causes a person to have irrational thoughts known as ‘obsessions’. To try and deal with the anxiety associated with the obsession, repetitive actions or ‘compulsions’ are performed. Some people can only suffer from obsessions, whilst others suffer from a mixture of both obsessions and compulsions.

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - OCD-

OCD can have a negative impact upon daily life.  Whilst you may have minor obsessions which form part of your personality, there are severe forms of the condition which can affect your work and family life.

Mental wellbeing outcome

As the actions associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are a response to obsessional fears, the resulting compulsive rituals may cause you to have ‘safe’ thoughts which temporarily reduces anxiety. Common responses involve constant checking, cleaning and avoiding certain things. Examples can include:

  • Checking if a household appliance is turned off
  • Washing yourself or objects more than usual
  • Only touching things with a tissue or avoiding items which may be contaminated
  • Repeating actions a set number of times or for a specific period of time

Obsessional fears do not always lead to compulsive rituals, instead they can cause intense fear of an outcome rather than causing you to act in a certain way. Obsessions may be about violence, contamination, sexuality or accidental injury – for example, being afraid you may harm others either by doing something or failing to do something.

Obsessions are irrational and not at all reflective of you usual behaviour or values. Normal thinking is affected which can be very upsetting and obsessive thoughts can become overwhelming, taking up hours of time. Such thought patterns are difficult to break and it is not uncommon to seek regular assurances from close friends about your obsessions.

OCD treatment: How the Priory can help-

OCD treatment often involves cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and OCD medication. A structured programme tailored to your specific problem will be designed after a consultant psychiatrist and trained therapist have carried out an assessment. Treatment will depend on the seriousness of the condition and will be discussed. Outpatient, day patient or inpatient care is available.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - OCD Help, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

More Info

Behavioural therapy programme overview:

  • Techniques involved are known as exposure and response prevention
  • These techniques help confront fears and learn not to use compulsive behaviour
  • The initial focus tackles smaller fears then gradually builds up
  • The tasks are then to be practiced at home to reinforce the response prevention
  • This programme results in reduced anxiety, which will then allow the rituals to stop

How long will the treatment take?

The length of treatment for OCD varies from 10 outpatient sessions upwards, depending on how serious or complex your condition is. You may need some follow-up sessions to encourage you to continue to use the skills you learned in your treatment.

What medication is available?

There are some antidepressant medications that can be very useful in OCD treatment. They reduce the obsessions and are useful when one of the symptoms of the condition is that you feel low. In severe cases, medication can make behavioural and psychological treatments more effective. They're not addictive and are safe to use over long periods of time. The medication used in OCD treatment is normally of a higher dose and needs to be taken for longer than medication prescribed for treatment of depression, so a psychiatrist should supervise use.

Does treatment work?

You may find the treatment difficult as you will need to confront your obsessional fears and stop your compulsive responses to these. But the most important thing is to realise that OCD help is available and effective in most cases. Therapists and other hospital staff are aware of your condition and will give as much support as possible. Carers and family members will be involved as appropriate, especially where you need support at home.

Self help

Self-help may be useful as the first stage of treatment or alongside other treatments. There are also many different self help books, leaflets and internet sites available. You need to find the right options for you. Self-help groups, like those supported by OCD Action, can be a useful support but they do not replace professional treatment. However, they can help sufferers and families understand that they are not alone, and offer valuable support and practical advice.

Contacting your GP is often the easiest way to get OCD help and further treatment. He or she may offer you counselling or refer you to a specialist for further assessment. This may lead to outpatient treatment or, if more serious, day or inpatient treatment.

If you're worried about talking to your GP, consider writing down your concerns and questions. You can:

  • Take a friend or family member with you
  • See another doctor in the practice

The type of professional support offered will depend on the services that are available in your area and the arrangements that our primary care trust (PCT) have with other health authorities or private providers. Treatment for OCD is also available privately through the Priory.

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