Condition: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition where people develop anxiety-producing thoughts (obsessions), which they may attempt to relieve by performing an action (compulsions).

The obsessions and/or compulsions are often time consuming, distressing to the individual and interfere with their home, work or social life.

OCD affects 1 in 100 people in the UK.

Obsessions are unwanted, anxiety-producing thoughts that cause marked distress. Most people with OCD recognise that these thoughts are irrational.

Common obsessions include:

  • Fears about contamination with dirt or diseases;
  • Need for symmetry or exactness;
  • Worries about injury or harm to yourself or others.

Compulsions are repetitive behavioural or mental acts that a person with OCD feels they need to do to control their obsessions. By performing that compulsion the individual feels like they can prevent their obsession from occurring or reduce the anxiety associated with it.  However, they commonly lack any obvious link to the obsession.

Common compulsions include:

  • Cleaning;
  • Hand washing;
  • Ordering;
  • Hoarding;
  • Counting;
  • Repeating words.

Research suggests that OCD may be due to an imbalance in chemical messengers in the brain, including serotonin.

The exact cause for this is unknown but OCD is more common in those who have a relative with OCD or another mental health condition. In addition the symptoms can be triggered by increased stress or after an infection (cough and cold).

OCD is diagnosed from speaking to a patient to understand their symptoms in full.

Questionnaires are a commonly used tool to assess the severity of OCD. They are also useful in monitoring response to treatment.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Treatment

Simple approaches including education and self-help can improve symptoms and reduce the impact on quality of life.

Most patients will also benefit from an element of psychological therapy. One of the helpful therapies is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention (ERP).

Medical management primarily involves the use of anti-depressants (e.g. fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine).

Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit in symptoms or quality of life.

Arrange a Referral

At Sapphire London we operate on a doctor to doctor referral basis. We accept referrals from GP’s and consultants. This is to ensure that the patient’s condition has been fully assessed by a qualified physician and all other treatment options have been attempted.

For doctors to refer a patient to us, please click here to fill and securely submit a referral form.

For patients, please complete our assisted referral form by clicking here

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