Stones stacked on top of each other

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a psychological condition. It can develop when people have problems with anxiety.

There is no single cause of OCD. People from all walks of life, with different circumstances and with various personalities can all experience it.

About 2% of people have full-blown Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But anyone with anxiety problems can have some obsessional thinking or compulsive behaviour. Likewise people with OCD can experience panic attacks and other symptoms of anxiety.

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. Even though they want to, people find that they simply cannot shut off the obsessional thoughts.

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)


There is information on self help to overcome OCD (see resources on right).  The OCD-UK website gives detailed information about all aspects of OCD and forms of treatment that can help.



Self-help documents