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.
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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