Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common and distressing anxiety disorder characterised by recurrent obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are intrusive and unwanted images, thoughts and ideas which cause anxiety and distress. Compulsions are thoughts or behaviours which aim to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessional thoughts.

This can lead to endless hours of rituals such as washing, checking, and/or counting in order to alleviate the anxiety. This in turn can lead to more anxiety and so the circle perpetuates itself.

Most OCD sufferers fear that harm of some kind will come either to themselves or to those they love, or in some cases, to strangers. They think that, by performing certain rituals, harm can be evaded or lessened.

It is estimated that about one in every 50 men and women is affected. This means that in the UK there are about 1 million people who have experienced OCD at some point.

Some of the most well known people who have suffered with OCD include: