Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Help

Approximately 2-3% of the population are dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That’s 500,000 Australians!

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that usually develops in late childhood or early adolescence and continues throughout adulthood. People affected by OCD have persistent and intrusive recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) and to get rid of the thoughts, they feel driven to repetitively perform an act or behaviour (compulsions). Not performing the act or behaviour causes them great distress and is often attached to a specific fear or consequences to either themself or a loved one if the behaviours are not completed.  These repetitive compulsive behaviours, such as hand washing/cleaning, checking on things, mental acts like (counting) or other activities, can be time-consuming, excessive and may significantly interfere with a person’s day-to-day activities and social interactions, causing feelings of anxiety and distress.

Alternatively, people may try to ignore or suppress the obsessions or distract themselves with other activities which we call “avoidance”.

Avoidance generally just delays the compulsive behaviour and increases feelings of distress and anxiety. Using avoidance, an individual may avoid anything that has potential to trigger their obsessive fears or compulsions, which can become an increasing problem as it may mean they withdraw themselves from some or all friendships and/or relationships, limit their presence in school/workplaces, at social events, in certain areas of their home, and in some cases, completely limit themselves to their home.

OCD can make an individual housebound and can make it difficult to perform everyday activities like eating, drinking, shopping, or reading.



OCD usually includes both obsessions and compulsions. However, individuals have the possibility to have only obsession symptoms, or only compulsion symptoms. Obsessions are usually exaggerated versions of worries and/or concerns that most people have at some time. Common obsessions include:

  • Counting/hoarding – the repeated counting of items or objects. This can include hoarding clothes, counting pavement blocks, or hoarding items such as junk mail.
  • Safety/checking – fears about harm occurring to themselves or others, resulting in compulsive behaviours. These can include checking the doors are locked, the oven is off, alarms are set etc
  • Cleanliness – The most recognised behaviour for OCD includes obsessive handwashing and household cleaning to reduce an exaggerated fear of contamination.
  • Order – An obsession with order or symmetry, have the overwhelming need to perform tasks or place objects, such as cutlery or books, in a particular pattern, needing things to be orderly and symmetrical.
  • Fear of contamination – this includes germs, poisons, dirt, and other environmental substances
  • Excessive concerns – regarding illness or mortality
  • Excessive concern – regarding symmetry, exactness, and orderliness
  • Fear of harm – this includes fear of accidents, illness, or death, that has the possibility to occur to yourself or others. This obsession can include an excess responsibility to prevent this harm.
  • Intrusive thoughts – examples include images about violence, sex, accidents, and other issues

Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive hand washing, showering and tooth brushing
  • Repeating routine activities and actions – these include writing, reading, walking, picking up something or opening a door
  • Excessive cleaning and washing of house, household items, food, car and other areas
  • Excessive checking of locks, electrical and gas appliances, and other things associated with safety
  • Applying rigid rules and patterns – placement of objects, furniture, books, clothes and other items
  • Touching, tapping or moving in a particular way or a certain number of times (Better Health, 2022)

People with OCD can also experience other mental health issues, including other anxiety disorders, eating disorders, alcohol/drug use problems and depression.



The good news is – OCD is treatable! Seeking professional OCD treatment and support is the first step towards managing your OCD and recovery. There are two main effective treatments for OCD. These include psychological OCD treatment and in some cases, medication. However, treatment for OCD can include simple anxiety management techniques.

Often, psychological OCD treatment includes therapies such as Talk Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) – which has been proven to support long term improvement.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

CBT aims to change patterns of thinking, behaviours, and beliefs, that have potential to trigger obsessive compulsive symptoms. CBT uses education to foster control over symptoms, in addition to exposing myths about the causes of OCD.

As a part of CBT, an individual can be gradually exposed to situations that trigger their obsessions. Simultaneously helping the individual to reduce their compulsions and avoidance behaviours. However, this is gradual and begins with less feared situations. The exposure tasks and prevention of compulsions are repeated daily and consistently until anxiety decreases. Over time, this allows the person to rebuild trust in their capacity to manage and function, even with anxiety. This process is known as exposure and response prevention (ERP) (Better Health, 2022).


Medications like antidepressants that affect the serotonin system, have been proven to reduce OCD symptoms. However, you should discuss with your doctor if you wish to try medication as opposed to other treatment options and there may be associated side effects.


Anxiety management techniques for OCD

These techniques can assist a person in managing their own symptoms. These can include relaxation training, slow breathing techniques, mindfulness meditation and hyperventilation control. These techniques require regular practice and are most effective if used together with a cognitive behaviour therapy treatment program.



People with OCD who receive appropriate treatment commonly experience increased quality of life and improved functioning. Treatment may improve an individual’s ability to function at school and work, develop and enjoy relationships, and pursue leisure activities.

Fortunately, our Brisbane and Gold Coast offices are home to some highly skilled, knowledgeable, and professional psychologists, that offer OCD treatment which can help you work through your compulsions and obsessions. CBT’s highly experienced Clinical team are skilled in diagnosing and treating a range of concerns, including OCD.

Looking to get started with OCD treatment? Speak to your GP about a Mental Health Care Plan – you could be entitled to a Medicate Rebate per session.

If you already have a referral or are looking to book privately, contact us now via telephone or online enquiry to book an appointment and take that first step to bettering your life and managing your obsessions and/or compulsions with OCD treatment.

Coomera – (07) 5551 0251

Nerang – (07) 5668 3490

Mount Gravatt – (07) 3102 1366

If you, or someone you know, required urgent help for OCD, please reach out to organisations like Beyond Blue. Or call the mental health helpline on 1300 22 4636. If this is an emergency, please contact 000 or visit your local emergency department.

Disclaimer: Firstly, content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Lastly, readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.


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