Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessions are thoughts, ideas or images that will not go away. The person with them knows that the thoughts make no sense but cannot stop them.

Compulsions are impulses to do things. These things can be;

  • performing certain actions (such as checking if doors are locked or washing your hands a certain number of times) and/or
  • carrying out actions in your head (such as saying a sentence over and over or counting things)

Problems with obsessions and compulsions can develop when people are very anxious or are trying to avoid feeling other strong emotions. 

When people have severe obsessions and/or compulsions they can be described as having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 

People from all walks of life, with different circumstances and with various personalities can develop patterns of obsessive or compulsive behaviour that can be described as OCD.   Many people in this situation also experience panic attacks and/or other anxiety-related issues.


Patient Information - Leaflet on Obsessive-compulsive disorder

OCD- The Facts

Anxiety and panic attacks

Books that can help

Relaxation Exercises