What is OCD?
OCD is often down played. It is not uncommon to hear people describe themselves as a bit ‘OCD’. In reality OCD refers to a serious and complex illness called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in which people frequently experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours that can be very distressing and have a big impact on people’s everyday lives.
Obsessive thoughts are unwanted and unpleasant thoughts, feelings or images that repeat over and over again.
Compulsive behaviours are the actions or rituals that people feel the need to carry out in order to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts or to prevent the ‘bad thing’ in their thoughts from happening.
Many children and young people have mild obsessions and rituals, this is normal and is often a temporary reaction to stress, change or uncertainty in their lives. However, if these thoughts or behaviours start to cause distress or interfere/disrupt daily life then it may be a sign that OCD is developing. If so you should talk to your GP/family doctor, school nurse, Counsellor, school mental health team or someone else who can help you find specialist mental health support if this is needed.
What causes OCD?
OCD doesn’t have one clear cause. Genetics, Environmental factors, family history and Brain chemistry may all play a part in people developing OCD.