Obsessions...


The word 'obsession' comes from the latin word obsidere, meaning 'to besiege'. Sufferers are literally besieged with their own thoughts.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious anxiety-related condition that affects as many as three in a hundred people – from young children to older adults - regardless of gender and social or cultural background. Sufferers often go undiagnosed for many years, partly because of a lack of understanding of the condition, and partly because of the intense feelings of embarrassment, guilt and sometimes even shame associated with what is often called the ‘secret illness’.

To some degree OCD-type symptoms are probably experienced at one time or another by most people, especially in times of stress. However, the illness can have a totally devastating effect on work, social life and personal relationships. The World Health Organisation (WHO) even ranks OCD as the tenth most disabling illness of any kind, in terms of lost earnings and diminished quality of life.

OCD can take many forms, but, in general, sufferers experience repetitive, intrusive and unwelcome thoughts, image, impulses and doubts which they find hard to ignore. These thoughts form the obsessional part of ‘Obsessive-Compulsive’ and they usually (but not always) cause the person to perform repetitive compulsions in a vain attempt to relieve themselves of the obsessions and neutralise the fear

Sufferers try to fight these thoughts with mental or physical rituals, the compulsions, which involve repeatedly performing actions such as washing, cleaning, checking, counting, hoarding or partaking in endless rumination. Avoidance of feared situations is also common; however, this often results in further worrying and preoccupation with the obsessional thoughts.

Most sufferers know that their thoughts and behaviour are irrational and senseless, but feel incapable of stopping them. This has a significant impact on their confidence and self-esteem and as a result, their careers, relationships and lifestyle

Obsessions and obsessional behaviour can include:
• Counting rituals
• Checking things repeatedly e.g. locks, windows, doors, ovens etc.
• Elaborate absurd rituals e.g. if you bump one side of your body you have to hit the other side to
'even things up'
• Constant negative thoughts or worry
• Chronic Insomnia
• Worry about dirt or contamination
• Repeated hand washing
• Being obsessive about health or disease or bodily symptoms (that transfer from one thing to the
next quite rapidly
• Obsessive jealousy or worry about partner

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