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Video

Dr Pixie:

There have been lots of questions online about OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder and many of you are worried you know if you’re a bit tidy or a bit obsessively tidy is that a trait and actually have you got this condition. To be honest, most of us have minor obsessions about things. To have obsessive compulsive disorder you generally have an obsession and a severe anxiety surrounding that obsession and then a compulsion to go and check it or do it, so go back to the house and check the straighteners and then a temporary relief when you have done so because you feel ‘phew, I haven’t done that’. And this tends to take over your life, it becomes part and parcel of your life and it impacts on your daily activities because it’s a constant vicious circle.

Many of you have posed the question ‘what do I do if I think I have OCD?’ I think the most important factor if to seek help. If you realise there is a problem and its controlling you rather than your controlling it, go and see your GP because cognitive behavioural therapy is one very, very helpful tool in tackling this because it works in a drug-free mode to change the way you behave and to change the anxiety and compulsions around it by your behaviour. So it’s a very useful strategy to have up your sleeve and gradually reduces your OCD and really means you’re in control of your OCD rather than it being in control of you.

Many of you are worried as to how to tackle your OCD and drugs are certainly one form of treatment that does work. We very often used drugs called SSRI’s which stands for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Massive word for basically a little pill that impacts your serotonin levels. Now this is familiar to most people as an anti depressant but it actually works very, very well for OCD and very often the dose is slightly less than the standard dose as given for depression. We’ve been using them for years and I think, before you say no, do talk to your GP because it could be a course of this treatment may actually get you out of this vicious circle.
I’ve had an email here from a girl who’s 19, who’s been diagnosed with mild depression and is also really worried that she may have OCD. It is possible to have both depression and OCD and some people with depression exhibit obsessive compulsive traits so they may have increased anxiety about things like, again the whole thing of did I turn the lights off, did I put the alarm on which is compounded by the underlying problem of being clinically depressed.

The other issue is that if you’ve got long term OCD without a doubt it’s going to bring your mood down and make you feel depressed so often the two come hand in hand. So if you believe you’ve got a diagnosis of both depression and OCD, go and chat to your GP. It’s really handy to bring along a diary of your symptoms, in particular if you’ve got ritual behaviour like going back and obsessively checking if you’ve put the burglar alarm on for example and how that impacts you on a day to day basis because then the doctor can see from your story and also looking at your evidence how this is impacting you.

The good news is that very often the treatment of depression and OCD can be done in tandem because we use SSRI medication and also cognitive behavioural therapy. So, what will positively affect one will also help the other.
If you are worried about OCD rest assured it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the UK today. And my advice to you would be go on the Embarrassing Bodies website Health Checker section and take the OCD test. If you find you’ve got a high score on this test then go and see your GP because the good news is OCD can be managed very easily through drugs or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and very often facilitates a cure. So don’t delay, do the test today.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: OCD

Dr Pixie has taken the time to answer your most common questions on the tricky subject of obsessive compulsive disorder. The vast majority of these questions were submitted in the comments section of our obsessive compulsive disorder condition guide.

If you’re worried that you may have obsessive compulsive disorder, try our OCD test within My Healthchecker.

If you find you’ve got a high score on the OCD test then go and see your GP.

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I'm 13. I'm not entirely sure if I have OCD but I'm beggining to think I do. Sometimes I get annoyed and feel like stabbing or shooting someone and sometimes I don't even know why. I get suicidal thoughts all the time too although usually when I try to fall asleep which them results in me not sleeping and having huge headaches in the morning which then interferes with my normal routine. If I'm not thinking about killing myself I'm thinking about killing myself. I don't have any ordering or counting or hygeine issues or routines. Mainly just the thoughts. I also hoard a lot. I know I'm hoarding but I just can't help but think I'll need "this object" if "this happens." Sometimes I question my self. For a year I thought I was gay but now I don't but then I do and I just don't know. I don't want to tell my parents because they won't believe me and on the off chance that they do, they will think I'm disgusting. Do I have OCD or do I just worry too much?





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I am 27 i have and surfer from Neruofibromatosis type 1 and i have for the last 3 months been having trouble sleeping and and on and sometimes even had no sleep at all i have good sleep hygiene and still i don't get any sleep.





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hi there I was just wondering why you're blaming yourself did your friend get into an accident after the argument was there a fire or something? How did your friend die, if you don't mind me asking I can sort of relate to what you're going through as tragedy struck my life 2 September,s ago my uncle had a stroke and died at his funeral my other uncle had a heart attack and died in the parking lot I then spent the next several hours with his lifeless body at the hospital until my aunt could get there. 5 days later my uncles wife died. Just before all this happened a young friend and neighbor died. So for me I realized nobody has any control over death and nobody has any answers as to why terrible things like this happen so all of a sudden my OCD my fear of contamination exploded I'm terrified of getting feces on me I've been off work since July. If I get something on me that is something I can control. Now I very seldom leave the house out of fear of getting something on me. Anyways death is something nobody has any control over so you can,t blame youself. Have you may be considered talking to a medium to see if you can talk to your friend so maybe you at least can have some peace of mind? I recently went under hypnosis with high hope to rid me of my ocd, it didn,t work. I've seen a psychiatrist psychologist I've been to a crisis response center I've been to the hospital my doctor and I am taking Effexor and nothing's really working for me. you would think by now they would have something out there that works for OCD sufferers. Anyways you really just can't blame yourself for your friend, death is something that is unexplainable and nobody can control it. Pam





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I think I have obsessive compulsive disorder bought on by a stressful life event. 10 years ago I went through a traumatic time at University. I lost a friend who meant alot to me because of an argument and ever since I have blamed myself for it. Things never got sorted out and as a result I walk around shouldering a huge amount of guilt, every day. This guilt has not been relieved because he is not around to say 'its ok, I forgive you.' As a result I still feel an immense amount of guilt and although I try to cover it up I am totally devastated. Ever since this happened I have developed obsessive compulsive disorder. I have a fear that there will be a fire in the house so check my straighteners obsessively before I leave the house. I unplug electrical objects and turn the plugs facing upwards as I have now developed a fear that if they touch the carpet, this will start a fire. Even this isn't enough, the plugs have to be a certain distance away from the power point or I have a fear that there might be a spark which causes a fire. I also check the front door is locked by pulling on it at least 20 times (it used to be 100 but this was exhausting) and also have a fear of leaving taps on and causing a flood so check all the taps are off by touching the off switches at least 20 times before I leave the house. Its got so bad now that I factor in my 'obsessing time' to my morning routine so I am not late for work. This doesn't relieve the stress though - I only end up obsessing more and still being late. I can never get to anything on time because it takes me so long to leave the house. Sometimes I avoid going out all together because I can't deal with the stress. I know it seems stupid but I feel this is what I deserve seeing as I hurt my dear friend. I am almost keeping myself prisoner as punishment for how I acted. I feel like I have forgiven myself but I can't stop the OCD. Its only getting worse.





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On and off since I was around 12 I have bitten my lip as what I thought was just a nervous habbit. I would bite off skin and do a thing inbeetween my teeth that makes a little noise.I would do this until one felt right on a multiple of 3.this happens for hours until I get it right which is basically impossible. I would even do it while blood was present. I never consdered is a problem and am still doing it at age 25. In the last year I hace started playing with my hair until it feels just right which it never does. And I have pretty short hair and don't really care what it looks like but I seem to do this until it feels a certain way. I do it basically all day long. It affects my job to the point where over half my day of 8 hrs is focussed on messing with my hair. And I get frustrated when I can't get it right





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I'm 36 and have other anxiety issues, but when stress rises, I get obsessed with counting. Usually it relates to the fear of "too much" ie too many calories, too many possessions. Today I am obsessing about how many kWh of electricity I am using. I check the meter several times a day and am trying to get it to under 4kwh a day, which is virtually impossible. In the past I have counted every single possession in the house, even every paperclip, and become upset if I couldn't get the number of possessions under 1000 for the entire house. I would write down and catalogue every thing I owned. I fret about the moral implications involved with every purchase, and chastise myself if I buy anything new because it's been made with sweatshop labour, it will destroy the environment, etc. Should I keep using an old fridge that guzzles power, or buy a newer one that's more energy efficient? I can't answer that question so I am thinking of getting rid of the fridge altogether. At least it's one less "thing". Do you think this is OCD or something else?





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i m reaching 24 and I have had ocd since 2007. I wouldn't say it was a rare type its called fear of losing bowel control in public due to being distant from a toilet or even if its nearby and occupied. so I had to use the toilet enough number of times before leaving my house making sure that i don't need to go when i am out but as OCD is a problem, it was never enough. I am in tears while i am writing this cause only i know how it has ruined my teenage not being able to even join friends for an outing. my problem kept expanding cause i was alone and wasn't aware of its officially recognized existence. for 3 years i have been underestimating it and it went from bad to worse. Then I went to a psychiatrist who prescribed me anti-depressants. after taking 6 tablets a day for over a year i finally escaped it and was 97% cured but then when i reduced my dose to 3 tablets, i thought i could easily quit it and will be fine only to find out later that it wasn't true and the OCD hit me back wasn't that severe but it was back and now i am taking medicine again and i think it will take months before i feel the same again. I hope i can get CBT under the NHS as i am not a national.

Can anyone help me? I don't know whether I have ocd but whatever I have, it's taking over my life. Here's what happens in a 'normal' day. Whenever I have spray something (hairspray, antibacterial spray), I ave to spray it a number of times that is a multiple of 5. If not i will have to respray it tell it feels right. Before I leave the house, I have to check light switches and the oven is turned off at least 10 times. I check my straighteners that haven't even been plugged In to see if they are hot or not In case they burn down the house. When i lock the door I check it 30 times to see if it's locked. If not ill worry all day. Once, I had to come home from school to see if it was locked, I nearly missed my exam because of it. Ill do things with my left hand, then will be compelled to do it with my right hand. When I'm at the supermarket, I will colour code and put the shopping straight and in to categories on the till. I avoid the number 13 as Its a bad number and ill do anything to avoid it. I have to check my alarm clock for exactly 12 minutes every night. Ill check it, put it down. Then repeat for 12 minutes. Ill constantly check if I have done things like lock the door by asking my family. This isn't all of it but the main parts. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you





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I have found that since going though a very stressful period of time 2 and a half years ago, that I've got a lot worse with what I do. The severity of it varies depending on my stress levels, the higher they are, the worse it gets. I'm 21, and for a few years now I've noticed that with certain objects that don't belong to me or close family, if I touch them, I have to then 'wipe my fingerprints' off of the object. This could mean just just running my hand/fingers over the area or object once, or sometimes I have to do it several times. When I have to do it several times, I often then get agitated that its not wiping my finger prints away and that I can't get rid of them. So there will be a trace that I have touched it. This could be a single thing like a glass, or a table top. It's only a small area I feel the need to do this to. And it's not with everything I touch. Is this a form of OCD or is it something else?





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I get OCD. I am only 13 and it results in anxiety and panic attacks. I've had cahms for it but I just feel like i cant talk about things like this openly. I feel like no one understands me. I get suicidal thoughts sometimes but keep it to my self. I feel like im doing something wrong. I need help but im scared to ask anyone.





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I felt like this when I was your age, I've only just realised it is caused by OCD. I've just been along to my doctor today to talk about my son who's 10 and my daughter of 12 because I realise they have it too. Chances are someone in your family has it and they may understand. My doctor recommended a book called 'what to do when you worry too much'. I had already brought 'what to do when your brain gets stuck' which is in the same series (she hadn't seen that one before) and is especially for OCD in kids. See if you can buy either one of the books, mine were from the big online bookseller or the bookshop can order them for you. You've been brave and posted on here, try and get some more help for yourself, youve done nothing wrong. It is nothing to be ashamed of and when you feel better about it it will be less stressful and then your symptoms will be less too. Worrying about it alone is frightening, I know, I remember, so please know you are not alone with this and the thoughts you have. It's the OCD playing up! Another great book is 'stick up for yourself!' Again look on amazon for the author etc, it'll help you to know how to handle people and situations in your life and help you feel good about yourself. Take good, kind care of yourself...you can do it!

the best thing to do is to speak to your mum/dad about how you feel and how the anxiety/panic attacks/ suicidal thoughts affect you and maby try and get an appointment to see your doctor becouse they will be able to help you.

the best thing to do is to speak to your mum/dad about how you feel and how the anxiety/panic attacks/ suicidal thoughts affect you and maby try and get an appointment to see your doctor becouse they will be able to help you.

....Hi,I feel so for all the people on here...I'm so grateful...I have all the symptoms listed on here, but I know for a fact I'm no-way as bad as a lot of people...The routines, the numbers, always neat and tidy, organized, lists, checking everything..It just goes on and on...I know I have it only mildly, I'm so grateful, it's a horrible way to be, so upsetting when you know what you are doing , but you can't stop yourself...When I was younger ( I'm 61 now)) I was far worse...I seem to have gotten better with age...That's the only ray of hope I can give you....Good luck everyone, you are not alone...x





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