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Living with intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours can negatively affect your life. Here we look at what obsessive-compulsive disorder is and explain what treatments are available.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychological condition that affects people of all ages. More than 1 million people in the UK suffer from it. But what exactly is OCD? In short, the disorder is characterised by unwanted and intrusive thoughts, known as obsessions, and behaviours or rituals, known as compulsions. If you suffer from compulsive behaviour, it may be time to seek help through therapy.

How common is OCD?

To give a clear picture, various studies show that about 2-3% of adults and 1-2% of children and adolescents have experienced symptoms of OCD at some point. So if you have OCD or any other obsessive-compulsive disorder, you are not alone.

Examples of OCD and obsessive-compulsive disorder include collector’s syndrome, perfectionism, dysmorphophobia, dermatillomania and trichotillomania.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

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How OCD can affect your daily life

To illustrate, let’s say you feel an overwhelming sense that your hands are dirty. You wash them once, twice, maybe ten times, but still it doesn’t feel like enough. This is an example of how a person with OCD may experience their everyday life.

Symptoms and signs

To understand OCD better, it is important to recognise the most common symptoms and signs. These can include:

  • Obsessive thoughts: Unwanted, intrusive thoughts that provoke anxiety.
  • Compulsions: Rituals or behaviours performed to reduce anxiety.
  • Anxiety and stress: Experiences of high anxiety if the compulsion is not performed.

Before moving on, it may be important to mention that there are different subtypes of OCD, including cleaning OCD, control OCD, and more. Each individual is unique and may experience different symptoms so it is important to find the right therapy for you.


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The different types of therapy that can help

CBT as an effective method

As OCD is a complex disorder, it is important to seek professional help. Here are some therapies that have been shown to be effective:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): This is the most proven method for dealing with OCD. CBT helps you understand your obsessions and how to change your behaviour.
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): This is a subcategory of CBT and focuses on exposing you to your fears.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication can be an adjunct to therapy.

Seeking help can change your life

OCD is not something you need to deal with on your own. Talking to a professional therapist or psychologist can not only help you understand your condition better but also provide effective ways to deal with it. You are not alone, it is okay to ask for help. Lavendla has qualified therapists and psychologists available to help you find a way out of your compulsive behaviour.


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Common misconceptions about therapy

Many people think that therapy is only for ‘severe’ cases, or that seeking help is a weakness. Both are misconceptions. Rather, therapy is a step towards improvement. We help make the difficult easier by connecting you with qualified therapists and psychologists online.

Your next step

If you or someone you know is struggling with compulsive behaviours, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional therapist or psychologist. All Lavendla’s therapists and psychologists qualified and conversations are always strictly confidential. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.

Living with OCD can be a daily struggle but there is help available. With the right support and tools, you can significantly improve your quality of life. If you are ready to take the plunge, we are here to support you. Book your first session today and start your journey towards a better future.


12 common questions about OCD

What is OCD?

OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a mental health disorder characterised by compulsive thoughts and actions. It can affect an individual’s daily life to varying degrees.

How is OCD diagnosed?

A diagnosis of OCD is usually made by a psychologist or psychiatrist through various tests and assessments. It may include questionnaires and clinical interviews.

Is OCD hereditary?

Research shows that OCD may have a genetic component but it is not the only factor. Environment and upbringing also play a role.

What are the symptoms of OCD?

The most common symptoms include unwanted, intrusive thoughts and repetitive rituals or behaviours, such as washing or controlling.

How is OCD treated?

Treatment can include medication, such as SSRIs, as well as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be particularly effective.

Is there a cure for OCD?

There is currently no cure for OCD, but with the right treatment, symptoms can be managed and quality of life significantly improved.

Can children get OCD?

Yes, OCD can affect children and teenagers. It is important to seek professional help as soon as possible for the best possible treatment outcome.

How common is OCD?

About 1-2% of the population is estimated to have some form of OCD, but many cases go undetected.

Does OCD affect my ability to work?

Yes, in severe cases OCD can lead to work disability. However, it is possible to return to normal functioning with proper treatment.

How does OCD differ from normal habits or routines?

Unlike normal habits, compulsive actions and thoughts are involuntary, time-consuming and often lead to significant suffering.

Can you live a normal life with OCD?

Yes, with the right support and treatment, many people with OCD can live a full, meaningful life.

How can I get help with my OCD?

Through our site, you can book an initial session with a therapist or psychologist to describe your problems and start planning treatment.

Before you can start treatment, it is important to understand what OCD is and how it affects you. By putting your feelings and behaviours into words, you and your healthcare provider can tailor treatment to suit you.

Seek professional help

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to establish a diagnosis and discuss the most appropriate treatment for you.

Treatment methods

There are several treatment methods for OCD, but the most commonly used include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Medication such as SSRI antidepressants
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP)

Individualised plan

A customised treatment plan will be developed for you, which may include a combination of therapies, medications and possibly additional support.

Regular meetings

The next stage of treatment is usually regular meetings with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan if necessary.

Self-help

Alongside professional treatment, you can also explore self-help methods:

  • Get a support group.
  • Learn relaxation techniques.
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings.

Evaluation and adjustment

After a period of time, your healthcare provider will evaluate your progress and possibly adjust your treatment plan. This may mean changing your medication or trying a different type of therapy.

Continued support

Even after the initial treatment period is over, continued follow-up and support is important. This may include regular therapy sessions or medical monitoring.

Remember to seek help on our website

If you feel overwhelmed by obsessive thoughts, you can find a wealth of resources and professional help through our platform. We aim to help make the difficult easier.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by dominic

Dominic is a Cape Town-based copywriter and editor with a background in psychology.