Do you think you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
” i can’t remember when it started, i think i have done it for years without noticing. Everytime i leave the house i have to wash my hands 5 times exactly i think something bad will happen when i go out…”
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is made up of two parts:
- and compulsions.
Obsessions can be unwanted, disturbing, upsetting thoughts or images which come into your head and make you miserable. For example, thinking something terrible is going to happen unless you check things alot.
- “I must count to twenty or something bad will happen”
- worrying about germs and disease
- worrying about things being tidy.
Compulsions are the activities or rituals which you carry out in order to get rid of or stop the obsessions.
For example, excessive cleaning or avoiding places where the OCD is worse
- repeatedly checking that the light is switched off
- washing hands again and again
- counting or repeating words in your head.
Many people feel the symptoms of anxiety with OCD and carry out the compulsion to try to reduce the symptoms of anxiety that are caused by the obsessions. For example:
Hannah believes that everything in her bedroom needs to be lined up perfectly with other things around her room. Some things had to be straight some things had to be on an angle. If Hannah didn’t straighten up her things, she would feel quite anxious: her heart would beat faster, she would feel quite sweaty and get butterflies in her belly. So everyday, she had to straighten things up even if it meant she was late leaving the house each morning.
- Hannah’s obsession is – things need to be positioned in a certain way
- Hannah’s compulsion is – position her belongings to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and manage the unwanted thoughts
How will I know if I have OCD?
Speaking to a health professional can help you in finding out if you have OCD. There are lots of websites that say they can test if you have got OCD, but they aren’t known to be as reliable as speaking to somebody who can assess you face-to-face.
So, if you think you have OCD it is important that you speak to someone about it. This could be:
- Mum or Dad
- Older sibling
- Aunt or uncle
- Teacher at school/college
- School nurse
You can use therapy to manage OCD, it is known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and this is seen as the best course of action to help with OCD. By using CBT you can talk through your unwanted thoughts and compulsions and look at the root of your difficulties. There are also antidepressants that can be used and you can discuss this with your GP.
If you want to chat online with someone about anything that’s worrying you click here to use the Childline chat that works like MSN messenger. This is for young people up to and including 19 years old.
Below are different local and national services that can offer you support. They are a mixture of helplines, websites and places in your area that can help.