3 mins

Why OCD Should Be Taken More Seriously

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sometimes seems to have become little more than a funny punchline. When people are straightening up they might say things like, “Oh I’m a bit OCD when it comes to clutter so I have to keep things tidy.” Or when they’re fixing their hair they may joke that it’s their OCD that makes them fussy about getting it exactly right. It’s an accepted form of apologising for certain behaviours, or for even just being a little busy.

But OCD is anything but a joke to the people who suffer from compulsions that are so difficult to control. In many cases those compulsions can make otherwise simple areas of life stressful and challenging. People who have severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can suffer from lack of sleep because their compulsions keep them up for hours. They may suffer in the workplace because their compulsions won’t let them leave the house until certain tasks have been performed over and over. One small thing that would help sufferers of OCD is a more developed awareness and appreciation of what OCD is and how it affects individuals.


Because OCD sufferers are conscious of the fact that their behaviour makes little sense to many people, they often keep their feelings of shame, anxiety and uncertainty to themselves. That leads to social isolation which can then make the compulsions worse. Family and friends, then, can help considerably by being sensitive to the damaging nature of OCD. By offering greater patience and support, they can assist sufferers in better managing their compulsions, reducing their sense of anxiety, and offering them some much needed relief.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

For many people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), however, there is little relief from a constant fear caused by their compulsions and how people will react to their behaviour. People are understandably worried about being seen as “different.” And they may fear the compulsions because they don’t understand why they struggle to handle their own behaviour. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help people with OCD learn to see their compulsions for what they are and change the way they think about those compulsions. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been very successful at presenting sufferers with the tools they need to identify their thoughts and see how their actions can be improved. Once people have developed a better understanding of their own behaviours, they can start to confront their difficulties, and evolve more constructive responses to them.

How to help a loved one with OCD

If you spend a lot of time close to a sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it can be stressful and frustrating. Nevertheless, it is important to remain calm and avoid calling out their behaviour – OCD sufferers largely recognise that their behaviour causes stress, but the nature of compulsion is that despite this recognition, they feel unable to do anything about it.

Instead you should aim to be supportive and help create a positive emotional environment for them. Finally, where their behaviour could directly affect you – such as by causing you to be late or by involving you in their recurrent actions (eg mopping a clean floor) – avoid becoming a participator in their rituals and thereby reinforcing their compulsions.

If you would like to book an appointment with The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, contact us today.

Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni

27 December 2017

"Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector."

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Athena Lazaridou

Athena is a Pilates instructor with 8 years’ experience in the field. After completing a Power Pilates Mat Certification in Athens, she went on to complete the Full Comprehensive Classical Pilates Certification with Equinox in Kensington.  She has been teaching Pilates at Equinox for the past 6 years in addition to her own private clients who she trains both face to face and virtually.

Athena has a passion for helping people get stronger and fitter as well as helping those recovering from injury regain their strength and mobility.  Over the years, she has worked with athletes to incorporate Pilates into their training and improve performance. Athena has also worked with prenatal and postnatal women who may be experiencing depression or other mental health difficulties and used Pilates to facilitate a positive impact on their mental health.

Athena is very passionate about improving physical and mental well-being and has recently incorporated Sound Healing into her work, as she believes it to be one of the best ways of ‘letting go’ and releasing stale energy whilst increasing greater self-awareness.