Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety-related condition, with the sufferers typically experiencing intrusive and repetitive thoughts, images, impulses and doubts which are often difficult to ignore. These thoughts usually, but not always, lead the person to perform repetitive behaviours in attempt to temporarily calm the anxiety.
Some of the typical obsessions may include worry about contamination and germs, causing harm to self or to others, the ordering or arrangement of objects, anxieties about throwing things away. One of the world’s leading experts in this field, Professor Paul Salkovskis, says that “OCD is a disorder of a person who cares too much”, as often OCD sufferers are highly consciensious, responsible and caring people, sometimes perfectionists, which makes the intrusive thoughts of possible harm to other people extremely distressing. Paradoxically, the attempts to suppress and neutralise the upsetting thoughts and images tend to make it worse, so one of the best researched treatment approaches in cognitive behavioural therapy is to encourage the individual to stop attempts to suppress the intrusive thoughts and just to allow them to come and go, without putting up a fight.