• Worrying excessively about dirt or germs and that you may become contaminated or contaminate others
• Imagining you have harmed yourself or others; having doubts about safety issues (such as whether you have turned off the stove)
• Fearing something terrible will happen or that you will do something terrible
• Preoccupations with symmetry, or a need to have things “just so”
• Intrusive sexual thoughts
• Intrusive violent or repulsive images
• Excessive religious or moral doubt or guilt; intrusive blasphemous images
• Excessive doubting or indecision: “should I – shouldn’t I?”
• A need to tell, ask or confess
• checking things repeatedly - for example, whether an appliance has been switched off,
• washing or cleaning things excessively,
• carrying something out in a particular order, in a repeated pattern or a certain number of times, and
• counting to a particular number, or going through a standard sequence of numbers, repeatedly.
• shaking someone’s hand,
• using public toilets or shared toilets,
• touching door handles,
• using plates, glasses or cutlery in a public place,
• using public telephones,
• visiting hospitals or GP surgeries,
• visiting someone else’s house, and
• touching shared objects. Such as remote controls, computer keyboards or money.
• that a light is switched off,
• that an appliance is turned off. Such as a cooker, an iron, a tap or a lamp,
• that a window is closed or a door is locked,
• health conditions and symptoms online,
• that you have your wallet, purse, phone or keys on you, and
• re-reading something to check you have taken in all the information.
• fear that you, or someone else, will be harmed if you throw something away,
• feeling an object may come in useful at a later point, or
• because you are emotionally attached to the item.
To begin with you can:
See your GP
You should make an appointment to talk with your GP if you are worried about your symptoms. Or if it's causing problems in your day to day life.
Your GP will look at different things when deciding on your treatment such as the following:
• Your diagnosis and symptoms.
• What options you have tried already.
• Your goals and preferences.
• Any other conditions you have.
Your GP might think your symptoms are severe. They might refer you to a specialist mental health team in your area or to the nearest community day clinic that has mental health facilities.
Getting talking therapy
You can access talking therapy by:
• Getting a private therapist/psychologist or a community therapist that if you do not have a medical aid or insurance.
Medication often plays a prominent role in the treatment of OCD and is particularly helpful for patients who also have depression or who are bothered by obsessions but do not perform compulsive rituals that can be modified by behavior therapy.
A class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) has been helpful in reducing OCD symptoms. Changes in serotonin levels are believed to be associated with OCD. These drugs treat the obsessions and compulsions , reduce anxiety and treat depression.
Medication and behaviour therapy often compliment each other. While medication alters the brain’s serotonin level, behavior therapy helps the patient learn to resist the compulsions and obsessions. Research has shown that over a period of time, behavior therapy can also change brain chemistry.
Behaviour therapy teaches an individual how to confront his or her fears and reduce anxiety without performing the rituals. Gradually, the person exposes himself or herself to situations that cause anxiety, but refrains from performing the rituals that relieve the anxiety.
You and your doctor or healthcare team should agree on a treatment plan that works best for you.
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