Obsessive compulsive disorder

Roz Shafran gave the first Award for outstanding doctoral Research Contributions to Psychology Lecture at the Society’s Annual Conference in Belfast in April.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is estimated to affect 1–3 per cent of the population, although the true prevalence remains unknown (Antony et al., 1998). Most people with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions. The obsessions are recurrent, unwanted intrusive thoughts, ideas, images or impulses. The individuals who experience the obsessions are horrified by them, and usually find their content to be morally repugnant and intensely distressing. Most of these obsessions can be classified as having sexual, blasphemous or aggressive themes. The person resists the obsessions by attempting to ignore or suppress them, or to ‘neutralise’ them with some other thought or action. They are not simply worries, they are out of keeping with the person’s character and they are resisted. The obsessions interfere with normal functioning, and the person knows that they are a product of his or her own mind.

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