Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder in which a person gets trapped in a cycle of repetitive, unwanted irrational thoughts. For example, thoughts like something bad is going to happen or actions like repeated hand washing are symptoms of OCD. It usually presents in early to late teens.

Facts about OCD


Lifetime prevalence rates of OCD are estimated to be at 1% for males and 1.5% for females worldwide.


OCD affects 1.2% of people in the UK.


Approximately 750,000 people suffer from OCD in the UK at any time.


Living with OCD often presents with an individual or mixture of symptoms. This most often includes the experience of obsessions and/or compulsions:

o Excessive worrying, counting or repeating words/phrases, intrusive and self doubting thoughts

o Excessive cleaning, repetitive checking, ritualistic touching, hand washing, arranging objects, hoarding

To diagnose OCD, the cycle of obsessions and compulsions need to be so extreme that they take a significant amount of time and get in the way of daily activities.

It’s cause is unclear but there appear to be some common factors including differences in the brain structure, a family history of obsessive or compulsive behaviours and significant events in life that cause intense stress at an early age.

These symptoms are often accompanied by feelings associated with General Anxiety Disorder, including an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, dizziness, tingly hands or legs and avoidance of certain situations. As a parent, it is important to remember that these thoughts and behaviours can often be distressing for young people. Encourage the child or adolescent to describe their fears and rituals. Seek support if there are few to no signs of improvement.


We offer tailored online OCD therapy. Despite OCD being a significantly challenging condition, there are several ways to help alleviate the symptoms and maintain a positive quality of life. The level of severity of symptoms will often guide the treatment which can include individually or will include a mixture of the following:

Physical treatments:

  • Antidepressant or Anxiolytic (Anxiety) medication

Psychological therapies:

  • Exposure and response prevention therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness

Oaktree Assessment Tool

iphoneOur Oaktree assessment tool (OAT) can help you decide whether to seek diagnosis and medical treatment from a Psychiatrist online, to seek talking therapy, or if self-help may suffice. It is not a diagnostic test.

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