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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder and has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.

The Obsessions and Compulsions of OCD are more severe than an occasional worry about whether we have locked our front door, or, for example, a feeling of irritation and a need to get up and move it, if we notice someone has put an ornament in the wrong place. OCD-type obsessions and compulsions can stop the individual from functioning normally and living their life the way they would like to, causing them great distress. 

In order to identify whether you may have symptoms of OCD you could consider the following  

Are you:  

  •  Washing or cleaning a lot 
  •  Checking things a lot 
  •  Having thoughts that keep bothering you - that you’d like to get rid of, but can’t? 
  •  Taking a long time to finish your daily activities 
  •  Concerned about putting things in a special order or are you very upset by mess? 
  •  Do you sometimes avoid doing things or going to places because of your anxiety about certain things e.g. eating or drinking outside the house? 

Moving out of OCD 

Do these problems trouble you? Do you consider you are doing these things more than others? Do these thoughts and behaviours stop you getting on with life? Recognising that you may be experiencing this type and degree of anxiety is an important first step. Some people find the following helpful:  

Relaxation techniques 

You can learn how to improve your breathing to lessen tension, do physical exercises to relax your muscles and make action plans to help you progress from coping with non-stressful situations, to those that you find difficult. See information on relaxation techniques.  


Medication and Support Groups  

Some people find drug treatment helpful for OCD, either alone or combined with talking treatments such as CBT. Most commonly these drugs are SSRI anti-depressants which may be prescribed by your GP who may be able to tell you about local support groups in your area.  

Getting Support

For more information:

  • British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) 0161 705 4305. Web: can provide details of accredited private therapists.
  • Anxiety UK 08444 775 774. Web: Information and Counselling helpline and online support for those suffering from anxiety disorders can also help with local support group information.
  • OCD Action 0845 390 6232. Web: Information and support for people with experience of OCD.
  • OCD UK 0845 120 3778. Web: A charity run by people with ODC who campaign and can help with local support group information.
  • NHS on line:
  • Samaritans 08457 909090 Web:
Self-Help References

Self-help booklet on Obsessions and Compulsions

The following references are available to order from the University Library either in hard copy, CD or ebooks. Most are readily available to buy either in bookshops or over the internet. There are also a limited number of books in the learning Grid and the Bio-med Grid.

 Getting Over OCD (Guilford Self-Help Workbook) (Guilford Self-help Workbook Series) by Jonathan S. Abramowitz (9 Jun 2009) 

 Take Control Of Your Life: Self Help For Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Confidence, Success & More by Dan Jones (9 Sep 2011) - Kindle eBook 

 Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by David Veale and Rob Willson (21 Apr 2009) 

 Free Yourself from Anxiety: A Self-help Guide to Overcoming Anxiety Disorders by Emma Fletcher and Martha Langley (9 Jan 2009) 

 Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT by Dr. Fiona Challacombe, Dr. Victoria Bream Oldfield and Professor Paul M Salkovskis (1 Sep 2011) 

Obsessive compulsive disorder: Practical, tried and tested strategies to overcome OCD by Toates and CoschugToates

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder : A Survival Guide for Family and Friends by Roy Cohen
Stop Obsessing: How to overcome your Obsessions and Compulsions by Foa and Wilson
Understanding obsessions and compulsions by Tallis
Washing My Life Away : Surviving Obsessive-compulsive Disorder by Ruth Deane

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