Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCDObsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted.  Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to their own rules, which must be rigidly carried out.

The prevalence of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is approximately 2.6% of the population and it affects males and females equally. OCD often begins in early adolescence to mid-twenties.  The peak age of onset for males is 13-15 years, and for females it is 20-24 years of age.

Common obsessions include:

  • Contamination from dirt, germs, viruses, bodily fluids, chemicals, sticky substances or dangerous materials
  • Fear of harm to self or others
  • Concern with order/symmetry
  • Somatic/physical concerns
  • Religious or blasphemous thoughts
  • Sexual thoughts
  • Urge to hoard possessions
  • Violent or aggressive thoughts

Common compulsions include:

  • Checking
  • Cleaning and washing
  • Repeating acts
  • Mental compulsions such as counting, ordering, symmetry or exactness
  • Hoarding or collecting

The aetiology of OCD is complex.  There are some biological factors: parts of brain are possible sites for pathology; possible chemical imbalance (serotonin); possible genetic basis.

Psychological treatment is the major treatment for OCD.  Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with a focus on exposure and response prevention (ERP) is considered the optimal psychotherapeutic treatment for OCD. Cognitive intervention focuses on reducing the frequency of overt and covert obsessional behaviours.

If you are suffering from unwanted repetitive behaviors and thoughts, the team at Aspire Health & Psychology in Newport can help.

Call Aspire now to make an appointment on 9391 9866


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