What is it
OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder.
People who have OCD have repeating thoughts, feelings, urges, or images that make them feel distressed. These are called ‘obsessions’.
People might try to help themselves cope with obsessions by doing things that bring relief. They might believe that these actions will make them feel better, make obsessions go away, or stop bad things from happening. These actions can be obvious to other people or they can happen inside someone’s head.
Sometimes, routines or actions that help people feel calmer are helpful. When people have OCD, they become ‘compulsions’. People with OCD often feel like they have to do their compulsions, even if they get in the way of their life. They often believe that if they don’t do their compulsion, something bad will happen.
When people have OCD, their compulsions often make them feel worse. Once someone with OCD has finished doing the compulsion, the obsessions come back. As a result, some people can get stuck in a cycle where they feel unable to stop doing the same things over and over again.
Feelings and behaviours
- Feeling like your mind is being ‘overtaken’ by certain thoughts over and over again
- Feeling scared, disgusted, guilty, tearful, doubtful, or depressed
- Having a powerful urge to do something to stop the feelings
- Experiencing temporary relief after completing the compulsion
- Repeating tasks after you’ve completed them
- Seeking reassurance or constantly checking with others about certain things
What’s going on
Interviews, art, blogs, and tips about mental health and wellbeing.
Videos about OCD from Nip in the Bud, an organisation set up to encourage awareness about mental health disorders in young children.
A short animated film from BBC Teach, which uses the testimony of a young girl called Annabel to create an intimate portrait of how coping with OCD can feel.