Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder where unwanted thoughts, urges and repetitive activities become an obstacle to living life as you want to. People who experience OCD often try to cope until they can’t hide the symptoms any longer. This can make them feel very alone and make overcoming the OCD more difficult.
What is OCD?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) typically has two parts: obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, ideas or urges that appear repeatedly in the mind and interrupt everyday thinking. Compulsions are repetitive activities you feel you have to do, usually to ‘put right’ the anxiety and distress caused by the obsessive thoughts.
It’s thought that 1 to 2 per cent of the population have OCD that is severe enough to disrupt their normal life. It can affect people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
Find out more about symptoms, treatments and tips for managing it on the NHS and Mind Websites.
The stigma around OCD
Mental health problems are common, but nearly nine in ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result. This stigma and discrimination can be one of the hardest parts of the overall experience because it might mean lost friendships, isolation, exclusion from activities, difficulties in getting and keeping a job, not finding help and a slower recovery. Equally, stigma can cause us to shy away from the people around us who might need our support.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Talking about mental health shows someone you care about them. It aids recovery, and friendships are often strengthened in the process.
"OCD is often stereotyped but actually not well understood by the majority, so there are worries about the judgements people will make out of ignorance."