Obsessions, emotions, and compulsions
Obsessions are the thoughts that make you anxious.
Thoughts - single words, short phrases or rhymes that are unpleasant, shocking or blasphemous. You try not to think about them, but they won't go away. You worry that you might be contaminated (by germs, dirt, HIV or cancer), or that someone might be harmed because you have been careless.
Pictures in your mind - showing your family dead, or seeing yourself doing something violent or sexual which is completely out of character - stabbing or abusing someone, or being unfaithful. We know that people with obsessions do not become violent, or act on these thoughts.
Doubts - you wonder for hours whether you might have caused an accident or misfortune to someone. You may worry that you have knocked someone over in your car, or that you have left your doors and windows unlocked.
Ruminations - you endlessly argue with yourself about whether to do one thing or another so you can't make the simplest decision.
Perfectionism - you are bothered, in a way that other people are not, if things are not in the exactly the right order, not balanced or not in the right place. For example, if books are not lined up precisely on a bookshelf.
The anxiety you feel (emotions) - you feel tense, anxious, fearful, guilty, disgusted or depressed. You feel better if you carry out your compulsive behaviour, or ritual - but it doesn't last long.
Correcting obsessional thoughts - you think alternative “neutralising” thoughts like counting, praying or saying a special word over and over again. It feels as though this prevents bad things from happening. It can also be a way of getting rid of any unpleasant thoughts or pictures that are bothering you (116).
Rituals - you wash your hands frequently, do things really slowly and carefully, perhaps arrange objects or activities in a particular way. This can take up so much time that it takes ages to go anywhere, or do anything useful.
Checking - your body for contamination, that appliances are switched off, that the house is locked or that your journey route is safe.
Avoidance - of anything that is a reminder of worrying thoughts. You avoid touching particular objects, going to certain places, taking risks or accepting responsibility. For example, you may avoid the kitchen because you know you will find sharp knives there.
Hoarding - of useless and worn out possessions. You just can't throw anything away.
Reassurance - you repeatedly ask others to tell you that everything is alright (116).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
There are two types of CBT used to treat OCD - Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Cognitive Therapy (CT) (116).
Counselling and Psychotherapy may be provided via Skype and FaceTime in the comfort of your home, office or any place of your choice.