Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common psychiatric condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. It can happen to anyone, with symptoms exhibiting as early as puberty, but it usually starts during early adulthood.


What are the symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

If you have OCD, you’ll usually experience one or both of the following:

  • An obsession, or unwanted and unpleasant thought, image, or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust, or unease
  • A compulsion, or repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought

The two often go hand in hand, with obsessions preluding compulsions. Women have been known to have OCD during pregnancy or after their baby is born. Their obsessions may include worrying about harming the baby and compulsions might be things such as repeatedly checking the baby is breathing.


What causes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Experts are not in agreement on what causes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but there are a number of different factors that may make it more likely. These include:

  • Genetic predilection 
  • Unusually high activity in the brain
  • Low levels of serotonin
  • History of abuse or neglect
  • Traumatic life events, such as childbirth or a bereavement
  • Certain personality, for example, neat, meticulous, methodical people with high personal standards may be more likely to develop OCD, as are people with a history of anxiety

What treatment options are available for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Although there is no specific cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, there are certain treatments that can help to minimise the impact of the symptoms on day-to-day life. The main treatments are:

  • Psychological therapy, usually cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to help patients face their fears and manage obsessive thoughts
  • Medicine, usually a type of antidepressant medicine called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which helps to alter the balance of chemicals in the brain

CBT will usually have an effect quite quickly. It can take several months before you notice the effects of treatment with SSRIs, but most people will eventually benefit. If these treatments do not help, you may be offered an alternative SSRI or be given a combination of an SSRI and CBT.


How can medical cannabis help with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

When traditional treatment methods can’t provide sufficient relief over time, medical cannabis can be another solution. In a study from 2021, ‘Acute Effects of Cannabis on Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder’, researchers Dakota Mauzay, Emily M LaFrance, and Carrie Cuttler established positive effects of medical cannabis on patients with OCD.

They found a “60% reduction in compulsions, a 49% reduction in intrusions, and a 52% reduction in anxiety from before to after inhaling cannabis”. Ultimately, “inhaled cannabis appears to have short-term beneficial effects on symptoms of OCD”, helping to improve the quality of life for those suffering from OCD.

In addition, people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may also suffer from other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Medical cannabis can help with symptoms of these disorders as well.

The Medical Cannabis Clinics’ team is dedicated to raising awareness about how medical cannabis can help with a range of psychiatric conditions, including OCD. Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private care for patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors, who will guide you through the treatment options available from the clinic.

Appointments start from just £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to offer you targeted advice and treatment plans, unique to your needs and symptoms.

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