What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental health problem, with 2.3% of men and 3.2% of women in Australia experiencing OCD symptoms over the course of their lifetime. That is more the 450,000 Australians! OCD is an anxiety disorder that usually has two aspects; First, obsessions, which are characterised by the presence of intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images or impulses. Common obsessions include: fear of contamination from germs or dirt, fears of harm to self or others; intrusive sexual thoughts or images; concerns with symmetry, illness or religious issues; an intense, irrational fear of everyday objects and situations (phobia). Secondly, these thoughts are accompanied by compulsions, which are repetitive behavioural and mental rituals (acts that are carried out mobile casino time and again, to reduce anxiety). Common compulsions include: washing; cleaning; checking; hoarding; touching; counting; and repeating routine activities and actions.

Obsessions and compulsions are distressing, exhausting, take up a lot of time, and can significantly interfere with the person”s family and social relationships, daily routines, education or working life. People with OCD are usually aware that their symptoms are irrational and excessive, but they find the obsessions uncontrollable and the compulsions difficult or impossible to resist.