OCD is a severely disabling illness which see’s its sufferers struggle with unwanted obsessions, thoughts and repetitive behaviour such as hand washing and it affects around 3 children in every 100.
The BBC spoke to Hertfordshire mum Sandra* whose 8 year old John* suffered so severely with the illness that he would not sit on a toilet seat or chair on public transport because of intrusive thoughts and would not shower or eat for fear of contamination.
Sandra also spoke of her son often washing his hands to such an extent they would begin to crack and bleed.
“It’s very terrifying, upsetting, one of the worst mental illnesses in my experience.” She said.
When symptoms started to appear when John was very young, Sandra thought it was simply a stage of adolescence that he would grow out of. However after the death of his grandfather to whom he was very close, he developed fears about dirt and germs and was referred to a adolescent mental health service.
The diagnosis of OCD actually came as a huge relief for the family and anti-depressants were quickly prescribed alongside a course of specialised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a recommended treatment for OCD.
CBT is performed by experienced and highly trained therapists and works at giving sufferers the tools they need to confront and deal with their obsessions.
Now 14 John is in recovery and beginning to explore the pleasures of childhood, but the family are aware that they will have to work hard to ensure OCD does not seep back into his life.
For more information about OCD and the various help options available please visit our fact sheet here, which also explains how hypnotherapy can help to relieve symptoms of the illness. Additionally if you would like to contact a hypnotherapist directly to discuss this matter or any other please use the search tool to locate a qualified professional in your local area.
*Please note to protect individuals privacy, real names are not used in this article.