The NHS defines obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a common mental health condition where a person experiences obsessive thoughts and behaviours.
People with OCD can experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters a persons head and often causes feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.
A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that the person feels the need to carry out to temporarily relieve the anxiety and distressing feelings brought on the the obsessive thought.
A number of factors can contribute towards the development of OCD including:
- Family history – If a member of the family has OCD, it can increase the chance of other family members developing OCD
- Differences in the brain – some people with OCD have areas of unusually high activity in their brain or low levels of the chemical serotonin
- Life events – OCD an be more common in people who have experienced abuse, neglect, bullying or other traumatic experiences or after a significant life event such as pregnancy, childbirth, bereavement or loss of a relationship
- Personality differences – People who hold strong personality traits that relate to being meticulous, methodical or striving for perfection can be more likely to develop OCD, in addition those who have a higher level of anxiety, have a large number of responsibilities in life or have issues around the need to feel in control can also be more likely to develop OCD.
Treatment for OCD will include developing an understanding of the underlying causes that contributed to the development of OCD, this can often include events much earlier in the persons life. It will also include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques and strategies to help take control of the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Cassandra may also work alongside a GP or Psychiatrist to discuss a treatment plan that may involve medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help with altering the balance of chemicals in the brain which can make the psychological treatment more effective.
Cassandra understands that OCD can be extremely distressing and works with an empathic and compassionate approach and aims to provide an environment that feels safe and supportive to work on these issues.