Mental Health in the Workplace Level 3 (VTQ)

62 videos, 2 hours and 49 minutes

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OCD - professionals discussion

Video 25 of 62
4 min 14 sec
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Naturally in life, some people live their life in a more orderly fashion than others. At what point would it be said that someone is obsessive and may be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder?

I think it would be when they felt there is an extreme of this orderly behaviour. OCD is usually connected with control of a situation. A ritual may be performed to make that person feel calmer or they feel the need to see that as an end of a process and traditionally I know it is thought of as hand washing or whatever, but it can be putting anything in order, it can be feeling it is ordered in your mind so that you have got control over what you are dealing with.

We always hear the story about people going back to check that they have locked the house.

Turning the gas off? Yeah, locked the door, yeah.

Or going back to check they have turned their gas off. Are they very common... Would they need to be in a state that they do that several times before it is showing signs, or could, maybe if somebody always goes back once is being cautious or would that be seen to be compulsive?

I think it depends on why you feel you are doing it. If it is just a genuine, "Oh, I might have forgotten to do something," you would go back and you would do it and you would not feel that need to keep doing it, but I think when you recognise that you are doing it to resolve a feeling that you have, then that is when it is going over the top. That is when it becomes OCD and that is when help is needed and you might notice it yourself, or you might have someone pointing it out to you, you might be hiding that you are doing it. Some people do. And if you notice that someone's hands are red and raw with sore spots on them, they may well be hand washing to cope with a feeling or if someone is constantly repeating an action, just to make themselves feel better about it, then you might notice that, you might comment to them that you have noticed that that is happening. It is a feeling of exerting your control over a situation that otherwise you feel you have no control over.

In many cases, for most people, they consider that someone who was OCD would have an exceptionally neat desk, for example, rather than a chaotic messy one. Is that just too wide-ranging an assumption?

That might just be a characteristic, might it not?


They might just like the desk to be neat, they might feel that they work better. I think if you are noticing that someone was constantly tidying their desk and felt uncomfortable or looked alarmed when people interfered with that, then that would be a point you know it was getting out of control.

And again, the best thing to do would be to speak to them in a private...

If you feel you could and if you feel it would be received positively by that person. They may well deny that there is a problem. They may well not be ready to talk about it, but I think that if someone said to you in the right way, "Look, I cannot help noticing that you are having difficulty with this," it might be just what they are looking for, just the opportunity to say, "Yeah, it is becoming a problem."

Is obsessive compulsive disorder usually a sign or as a result of something else?

I think it is usually a sign that there is an underlying anxiety and this is what someone has developed to cope with that anxiety. In time, the anxiety might well be forgotten, but the coping strategy which clearly is not working because they are repeating it over and over again, that is what people are left with, even when the anxiety, the original anxiety is long gone. The coping strategy is the OCD, the hand washing, the constantly returning to the house, the neat, tidy environment that they find they need, the constant house cleaning, anything like that, that they are using to cope with, is what they feel they need to do.