Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
OCD can affect men, women and children. Some people start having symptoms early, often around puberty, but it usually starts during early adulthood.
OCD can be distressing and significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control.
It is thought that approximately one-third of individuals with TS experience recurrent obsessive compulsive symptoms. (Khalifa and von Knorring 2005; Leckman et al. 1997) Different studies may vary in range, depending on how cases are ascertained (e.g. school samples vs clinical cohorts). The Avon community study (Scharf et al 2012) - the largest cohort studied - found that 22% of 6768 parental assessments of children aged 13 yrs had TS and OCD.
Obsessions are persistent thoughts, pictures, urges or doubts that appear in your mind again and again. They interrupt your thoughts against your control, and can be really frightening, graphic and disturbing. They may make you feel anxious, disgusted or uncomfortable.
You might feel you can't share them with others or that there is something wrong with you that you must hide. You might feel upset that you can have such thoughts.
Remember: obsessions are not a reflection of your personality. People with OCD are very unlikely to act on their thoughts.
Compulsions are repetitive activities that you feel you must do. The aim of a compulsion is to try and deal with the distress caused by obsessive thoughts.
You might have to continue doing the compulsion until the anxiety goes away and things feel right again. You might know that it doesn't make sense to carry out a compulsion - but it can still feel too scary not to.
Repeating compulsions is often very time-consuming and the relief they give you doesn't usually last very long.
• be physical actions
• be mental rituals (people who only have mental compulsions sometimes refer to their OCD as Pure O)
• involve a number (for example, you might feel you have to complete a compulsion a specific number of times without interruption).
Often described as the “tic of the mind” OCD shares the chronic waxing and waning course of TS, also exasperated by stress, excitement and fatigue