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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

NHS Choices explains obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour.

An obsession is an unwanted, unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters a person's mind, causing them anxiety. The word "obsession" usually describes something enjoyable, but in OCD the obsession is unpleasant and frightening.

A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that someone feels they need to carry out to try to prevent an obsession coming true. For example, someone who obsessively fears they will catch a disease may feel the need to have a shower every time they use a toilet.

If you are a young person and believe you may be experiencing OCD symptoms, please speak with your GP and/or your School Health Nurse.

If you have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), your treatment will depend on the how much the condition is affecting your ability to function. As OCD develops, the unwelcome and obsessive fears that can be overwhelming vary from person to person. This is also the case for the compulsive behaviour people use to try to control their fears.

How much impact OCD has on a person's life depends on:

  • the amount of time spent on a compulsive behaviour or ritual
  • the intensity of the behaviour
  • how much of it happens in their mind, rather than in their actions

See for more information about symptoms and OCD.

Between yourself and your GP your symptoms can likely be managed so that it is not getting in the way of achieving what you need to day to day.

If this is a severe, complex and enduring concern which is difficult to resolve, your GP may consider (with your consent) involving the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for an opportunity to speak this over with someone who will not judge you, but help you build confidence in your day to day living.

CCHP services which may be involved:

  • School Health Nurse
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS)


NHS Choices

For more information about a condition, please visit NHS Choices. 

NHS Choices