An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or impulse which repeatedly enters the person’s mind, and causes an uncomfortable feeling of anxiety, fear and/or disgust.
A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that someone feels they need to carry out to try and reduce the unpleasant feelings that were triggered off by the obsessional thoughts. However the behaviour only reduces the feeling temporarily.
People with OCD will recognise that the behaviour is irrational but they feel unable to control their thoughts or change their compulsive behaviours.
In OCD people will experience tension and anxiety following an obsession and temporary relief after carrying out their compulsions. People can become stuck in a vicious cycle where they repeat their thoughts / actions which can increase distress therefore making the obsessions stronger and more likely to occur again.
Many people describe ‘OCD traits’. If it starts to have a negative impact on everyday life or causes you distress, it is probably time to contact us for additional help.