Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic (long-term) mental health condition that is usually associated with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour.

An individual who sufferers from OCD feels they have no command over certain thoughts or ideas that are highly troubling to them, but which seem to force themselves into consciousness. These thoughts, or obsessions, create unbearable anxiety, which can only be relieved by executing a particular ritual to nullify them. This could be something like repeatedly opening and closing a door, washing hands, or counting.

OCD is one of the most common mental health conditions. It is estimated that up to 3 in 100 adults and up to 5 in 100 children and teenagers have OCD. OCD usually starts in early adult life, with men tending to report earlier symptoms than women. However, OCD symptoms can begin at any time, including childhood.