I Am A Little Bit OCD. AreYou?I Am A Little Bit OCD. AreYou?
Leslie Shoemaker, BA, MSc, Chartered Counselling
Psychologist, C.Couns, Psychol., Ps.S.I.
Purpose of today is to:
◦ introduce everyone to OCD (and how people are
not a little bit OCD).
◦ provide details about evidence based treatments.
Please get your pen/pencil ready.
Please write out the following statement
exactly as it is:
May (write the name of loved one here)
die in a horrible car accident on
Sunday, May 13th
OCD – Fast FactsOCD – Fast Facts
◦ OCD is considered to be a neurobiological disorder.
In other words, it is probably a disorder of the brain.
◦ The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists OCD
amongst the top 10 most debilitating illnesses with
regard to loss on income and diminished quality of
◦ Research suggests that this disorder affects 1-2% of
the population. That means there are 1-2 people out
of every 100 may have OCD. In the USA its is
estimated 2.2 million people over the age of 18 have
OCD – Fast Facts (cont)OCD – Fast Facts (cont)
◦ OCD is considered to be the forth most common
disorder (after substance abuse, specific phobias, and
◦ Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or Acceptance
and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and/or medication
are shown by research to be the most appropriate
and effective treatment options (NICE Guidelines).
◦ It is unknown as to what causes OCD but in 2014
researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, say they have
uncovered a genetic marker that may provide clues.
Common ObsessionsCommon Obsessions
Fear of contamination from dirt, germs, viruses, etc
Doubts about harm occurring - doors are not secure,
Excessive concern with exactness, order symmetry
Obsessions with the body or physical symptoms
Religious, sacrilegious or blasphemous thoughts
Sexual thoughts or images - i.e. being a paedophile or
Urge to hoard useless or worn out possessions -
although not always regarding as such by the hoarder
(hoarding now recognized as disorder in its own right)
Thoughts or images of violence or aggression
Content of ObsessionsContent of Obsessions
Simply reflects the persons value system and/or what
is currently happening in society.
No hidden meanings to the content hence why
CBT/ACT does not delve into the content of thoughts.
Common CompulsionsCommon Compulsions
Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks,
appliances, and switches.
Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure
Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing
other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
Seeking excessive reassurance.
Avoiding particular places, people or situations to avoid
an OCD thought (be it about harming someone or
Common CompulsionsCommon Compulsions
Ordering or arranging things “just so”.
Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by
Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers or empty
food containers (hoarding is now recognised as it own
disorder and not as a form of OCD).
Thinking same thought(s) over and over.
Avoidance of kitchen knives and other such
instruments, (for example locking them in a drawer) to
prevent coming into contact with them (thought of
harming someone with a knife inadvertently).
Things To Be Aware OfThings To Be Aware Of
People with OCD see the predicted outcome (i.e. I
may harm someone, etc) as quite ‘awful’ and as highly
probable. Think of compulsions as their ‘way’ of
protecting themselves and others.
People with OCD may not be able to discuss content
They may be afraid they may be crazy and there is no
effective help available.
Typically people with OCD experience high levels of
embarrassment, fear and shame.
Under-reporting of symptoms
(nature of thoughts/severity).
Support OrgansationsSupport Organsations
International OCD Foundation