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Infoline: 08444 775 774*

Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm

Text Service: 07537 416 905

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is it?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be looked at in two parts. Firstly, obsessions that are repetitive, obtrusive, unwanted thoughts that are experienced and result in unreasonable fears and compulsions. Secondly, acts or rituals carried out in response to fears generated by obsessions. The classic OCD condition is that of compulsive hand washing in response to an irrational fear of germs/contamination. In addition to the more classic forms of OCD there are a number of more specific variations including Compulsive hoarding, Compulsive skin picking and Trichotillomania.   Those who experience an OCD disorder feel less anxious once they have carried out a compulsion. It is possible to experience obsessive thoughts only and not have the desire to carry out a compulsion. Examples of compulsions are excessive cleaning, counting, checking, measuring, and repeating tasks or actions.

DIY self diagnosis

If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by OCD.

During the past 2 weeks:

  • Did you worry obsessively about contamination by germs/chemicals/dirt and/or that something bad might happen to you/other people, and/or that you might say something you didn’t want to that might upset others?
  • Did you feel compelled to carry out certain behaviours?
  • Did you check, count or repeat things over and over again?

Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.

How we can help

By becoming a member of Anxiety UK – for just £30 per year (see all our membership) you enjoy a range of support services and resources, including:

  • One year’s free subscription to Headspace (worth approx. £60), more details
  • Access to reduced cost therapy
  • Access to specialist email and helpline support
  • Subscription to Anxious Times magazine (worth £12 annually)
  • Access to our Member’s area and free online resources
  • Free copy of Understanding Anxiety booklet (worth £3.99)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) fact sheet


OCD Fact Sheet

This fact sheet gives a detailed overview,  as well as a look at some of the evidence based approaches to treating OCD.

Buy now

Recommended resources

Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a self help book based on cognitive behavioural therapy. It includes information on how to beat your rituals and deal with obsessional thinking. It has been highly rated by a number of individuals with OCD who have used it to overcome their symptoms. You can purchase a copy in the Anxiety UK online shop here.

Understanding Anxiety Booklet is a guide that aims to provide you with a greater understanding of anxiety. You can purchase this from the Anxiety UK shop here.