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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Posted by Brady Bunch on

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. Check for more information. If you have any health questions e-mail them to

This information piece gives a brief outline of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Check out or call into Whelehans Pharmacy for more detailed information on OCD. If you feel you suffer from OCD, I would advise discussing your concerns with your GP in confidence and he/she will advise you on the best course of action to take (if any). Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a relatively common psychiatric disorder of varying degrees of severity and it is characterised by obsessions or compulsions but commonly both. Obsessions are unwanted intrusive thoughts, images or urges that occur repeatedly and the person cannot get out of their mind. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that the person feels driven to carry out.

How common is OCD?

1 to 2% of the population are thought to suffer from OCD, although some studies suggest it is as high as 2 to 3%. OCD appears to be more common in women than men. OCD is sometimes linked to depression and about 50% of people suffering from OCD may also have depression.



Examples of obsessions include fear of causing harm to someone else; fear of harm coming to self; fear of contamination; need for symmetry or exactness; sexual and religious obsessions; fear of behaving unacceptably and fear of making a mistake


Compulsions can include behaviours such as cleaning, hand washing, checking, ordering and arranging, hoarding and asking for reassurance. Compulsions can also include mental acts such as counting, repeating words silently and constant worries about past events.


Psychological therapy such as counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy appears to be the most effective treatment option for OCD. Check out for more info on psychological treatment of OCD.

Medication may be needed in some cases. Antidepressants called Serotonin Selective Reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) appear to be effective for OCD. SSRIs such as fluoxetine, sertraline or citalopram can be prescribed for OCD. There are no significant differences in efficacy between the different SSRIs for OCD. Higher doses of SSRIs than those used for depression may be needed to effectively treat OCD. For example, fluoxetine dose may be increased to up to 60mg for OCD. GPs often refer people to psychologists who specialise in OCD to ensure the best possible treatment options.

OCD Irelandis a national organisation for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Their website is and it provides great information and advice on OCD. The website also lists psychiatrists in Ireland who provide treatment of OCD.

Disclaimer: Consult a healthcare professional before making any changes recommended

This article is shortened. For more detailed information, logon to or contact Whelehans at 044 93 34591 or and we will forward you a more detailed copy for free

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