Growing up is an intricate journey, full of challenges and lessons. For some individuals, this path is compounded with an additional layer of complexity, such as living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
OCD is a mental health condition characterised by intrusive, unwanted, and repetitive thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviours or mental acts (compulsions) that help to temporarily reduce the anxiety associated with the obsessions.
It’s estimated that around 12 in every 1,000 people in the UK are affected by OCD: almost 750,000 people1.
OCD often starts to manifest during childhood or adolescence, and it can be challenging for young individuals to understand and communicate what they are going through. As obsessions and compulsions intensify, it can impact their academic performance, social life, and overall emotional well-being.
According to OCD UK, the disorder can develop in children as young as six, and they estimate that around 25% of cases start by age 142.
For a young mind grappling with OCD, the world can feel like a hostile place. Simple tasks become complex rituals, as the need to follow rigid routines takes precedence over everything else. The fear of uncertainty can become overwhelming, leading to constant doubt and indecision.
In a recent YouTube video series by the biotech company Biohaven, people living with OCD were asked about their first memories of OCD3.
In one video, Tori, who is living with OCD, describes her experience in nursery and her first memory of the condition. She said: “[My mum] would pack my lunch, and I wouldn’t throw away the lunch bags or anything she touched in my lunch because I felt that it would make me closer to her because I missed her and that it would keep her safe when she was away from me.”
In another interview, Sean explains having his first OCD intrusive thought when he was 13 years old. He said: “An intrusive thought popped into my head about harming my father that came out of nowhere. The intrusive thought for the first time made me think and start to analyse and ask, ‘what if’. Not only ‘what if that actually happens, but what if I’m a bad person.’ The ‘what ifs’ really encapsulated everything that was horrible about that moment. And since that point in time (basically, the night that I kind of called the beginning or the turning point) my OCD kept getting worse.”
Growing up with OCD can be a lonely experience, and due to the stigma surrounding mental health, many individuals might be reluctant to share their struggles with others.
Living with OCD can be an arduous process. Therapy, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can be effective in treating OCD by helping individuals challenge their irrational beliefs and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Support from family and friends is equally crucial. Their understanding, patience, and encouragement can make a significant difference in the healing journey of someone growing up with OCD. Joining local or online support groups and forums can also provide a sense of community and validation, reassuring individuals that they are not alone in their struggles.
MAC Clinical Research are committed to improving the quality of life for people living with OCD through clinical trials and are currently investigating a medication that is thought to target a different signalling pathway in the brain to current OCD treatments, which may help to control obsessive or compulsive behaviours. With your participation, you may be able to contribute to scientific research, which may lead to a new medicine to help people living with OCD.
The trial is taking place at MAC clinics in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Staffordshire, South Yorkshire, Teesside, and West Yorkshire.
To be eligible, you must:
- Be aged between 18 and 65 years old.
- Have had OCD, or OCD symptoms for at least 1 year.
- Feel that your current OCD medication is not fully working.
Eligible participants will receive up to £490 for their time and commitment to the study, along with reasonable travel costs. If the treatment works you may be allowed to continue taking it (open label extension) for up to 48 weeks.
For more information on how you can get involved, visit our OCD Research page.
1 NHS Inform – Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
3 Biohaven YouTube – OCD Playlist