Relief from OCD comes from gaining insights into the hidden factors that trigger the condition. We want to give you a chance to learn more, improve your situation, and lead a better life for yourself and your loved ones. In our practice, our clinical psychologists use evidence-based methods to overcome your panic disorder.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is typically seen as repetitive behaviour such as obsessively washing or checking things. In reality, these behaviours are only a small part of the condition. Significant patterns of hidden, repetitive, negative thinking and crippling anxiety are the largest but usually hidden aspects of OCD. Early negative experiences and trauma are often found in people who develop OCD. Addressing these elements is important for successful therapy.
An obsession (or ‘intrusive thought’) is an unwanted urge, doubt, thought, image or feeling. The thought returns to someone’s mind in an uninvited, repeated way and contains distressing content for that person.
“My family are going to die” (thought)
“I might leave the gas on and kill somebody” (thought)
“I could attack somebody with a knife when I really don’t want to” (thought)
“I might be a sex offender and I’ll hurt somebody” (thought)
“Have I left the taps on?” (doubt)
“Did I run somebody over?” (doubt)
Spouse dies in an accident (image)
Hitting a partner (image)
Jump in front of a train (urge)
Say something blasphemous (urge)
For a person without OCD, these thoughts can be easy to dismiss. But the mind of an individual with OCD has become conditioned to see these intrusions as believable. They represent danger and compel the patient into behaviour patterns – called compulsions – so they can feel safer.
Obsessive-compulsive behaviours are often overt. This means they are noticeable actions of the type you expect in OCD patients. But less visible (covert) mental compulsions are as much of an issue. See below for examples. Sometimes compulsions become ritualised, which pushes someone to follow an action from start to finish. So, instead of simply checking that a tap is off, it might involve them counting to a number or tapping out a pattern in sequence.
Checking the stove or taps are off (overt)
Repeated hand-washing (overt)
Inspecting the car to see if it ran over anyone without the driver realising (overt)
An individual going over their memories to be sure they didn’t attack someone (covert)
A person mentally calculating the probability that they’ll contract a virus in a given situation (covert)
Trying, and normally failing, to force intrusive thoughts out of mind (covert)
Attempts to replace intrusions with positive thoughts (covert)
Someone counting up to a number in a specific manner or touching their head in a patterned way (ritualised)
Having severe OCD for a long time may lead to depression and decreased daily activities. This mental illness has other negative effects, such as lower life expectancy and increased risk of physical illnesses and suicide.
OCD is usually assessed by having a structured interview with a mental health professional. This takes one to two hours. This provides a comprehensive understanding of how the difficulties are happening and possible solutions. We may also use a statistical approach to measure someone’s OCD. The most common method is to ask the patient to complete a self-report questionnaire.
The presence of OCD generally
The specific subtype of OCD that’s causing problems
And the severity of the issues compared to other individuals
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) course for low-to-moderate severity OCD. Where symptoms are severe, the guidelines recommend treating OCD with anti-anxiety medication alongside OCD. Variations of CBT approaches, such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are a useful add-on to standard OCD treatments.
We routinely use these and other techniques. New approaches in OCD treatment, including eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), are also successful in some cases. Where OCD is linked to negative experiences or trauma in early life, we use EMDR with traditional psychological methods. This quickens treatment and prevents problems from recurring.
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At Kove, our clinical psychologists can help you end intrusive thoughts and worries. We offer expert techniques to address the complexity of OCD: Be more in control, get off the anxiety cycle, and start living your life again. To find out more about our private services and how we can support you, book an initial consultation today.
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