Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety related condition
People with OCD experience frequent unwanted and sometimes disturbing thoughts or images (‘obsessions’). They then attempt to relieve the anxiety caused by these thoughts by performing repetitive behaviours or mental rituals (‘compulsions’).Common complusions might be the need to wash hands, the need to check that the door is locked, or the need to perform an action a certain number of times but there are many different ways in which OCD can affect people.
It’s quite common for people with severe anxiety to also experience recurrent worrying thoughts and feel the need to repeat a behaviour (e.g. two blinks), which they think will stop a bad thing from happening. This does not necessarily mean they have OCD although there is an overlap of symptoms. Children or young people with autism also sometimes use repetitive behaviours to help themselves feel calmer. Have a look at our pages on anxiety for some general resources.
Often, the relief brought by carrying out these compulsive actions is short lived, and in the longer term reinforces the obsession, which worsens the condition. OCD can take up a lot of time and make it difficult to get on with normal life. (e.g. school, social activities, family life). However there is lots of help and advice available which can help young people learn to cope and there is good advice for parents below. Medication for anxiety is sometimes used to help adults with OCD.
Typically, OCD falls into one of the following categories: Checking, Contamination/Mental Contamination, Hoarding, Ruminations/Intrusive Thoughts
All the Things that Could go Wrong by Stewart Foster. Award winning story about a boy with OCD and about bullying which is both moving and funny but above all an honest look at what it's like to have OCD. Suitable from 9-10yrs
Can I tell you about OCD? by Arnita Jassi. A short book that is useful for children but also parents and siblings to explain what it’s like to have OCD.