This is an anxiety related problem which often results from a period of trauma when safety, security or health is compromised and / or resulting overdeveloped rituals and routines. The fear of not carrying out a ritual or routine is very uncomfortable and drives the suffere to “give in” to the compulsion for an easy life. Unfortunately this is a trap and the OCD symptoms worsen as the sufferer’s world shrinks.
The main themes are listed below and sometimes several or all themes can be present in one person.
Checking behaviours include going back several times to check that the door is locked, that you have your keys, that the road is clear or that no one has been injured.
Perhaps the most commonly identified type of OCD including hand washing & cleanliness, behaviours.
Behaviours to retain things in a certian configuration. This involves continually straightening furniture, having chairs at certain angles, removing clutter or having ornaments in a certain alignment, having cupboard contents in rows with labels facing in one direction etc.
Not being able to let go. Collecting vast amounts of the same thing or various things. Feeling highly anxious about throwing anything away, even items which are out of date, and effectively worthless.
Some examples of this might be wondering “did I knock someone over?” or “might I harm children / animals?”. Other people have obsessive thoughts about their sexual orientation, or whether they might have HIV and spend a lot of time researching or trying to check this.
OCD tends to progress and usually gets worse. Treatment can take from between 12- 24 sessions depending on the severity and length of duration of the problem.