Ramadan can be a particularly conflicting time for Muslims living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
OCD is a mental health condition where someone has obsessive thoughts which can cause compulsions. It can have a severe impact on a person’s quality of life and subsequent negative effects on their social and work life.
During this Holy month, millions of Muslims across the world will observe fasting, prayer, reflection and being involved in the community. For Muslims living with OCD, however, they may experience difficulty in navigating this month.
One aspect of OCD that people may encounter is sticking to a daily routine and during the month of Ramadan, Muslims must change their daily routine in line with fasting until sunset and waking up during the night to eat. Although these changes could cause anxiety, not adhering to their usual daily routine may encourage finding a better balance, allowing themselves to re-engage more than normal.
Another aspect that is particularly common amongst those living with OCD is intrusive thoughts: negative, unwanted thoughts that get stuck in a person’s head. A subtype of OCD is known as Scrupulosity which involves religious or moral obsessions, and people who live with this category of OCD believe that something they have thought or have done is sinful or a violation against their religion. For Muslims living with this specific type of OCD, they may have fears of accidentally breaking their fast before sunset without realising and may have intrusive thoughts that may cause doubt in their faith, even if the doubt is not genuine and is caused by their OCD. In these instances, Muslims living with OCD may seek reassurance through prayer and religious texts, or seek reassurance with family and trusted friends.
People living with OCD may be offered psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) CBT with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and people with moderate to severe OCD may be prescribed medical treatments such as antidepressants to treat their condition. MAC Clinical Research are currently seeking participants for a clinical trial investigating a potential new treatment for OCD which works differently to current antidepressants. People with obsessive compulsive disorder tend to have signalling pathways in the brain which are overactive, causing intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviour, or other OCD symptoms. This new OCD medication is believed to dampen down these overactive pathways, which may help people with OCD when used in combination with their usual OCD medication.
MAC Clinical Research is looking for participants to take part in the latest OCD clinical trial, investigating the study medication, 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 study is running at MAC clinics in Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside, South Staffordshire, South Yorkshire, Teesside, and West Yorkshire.
You must: be between 18 and 65 years-old; have had OCD, or OCD symptoms for at least 1 year; and feel that your current 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 medication works, on completion of the study, participants may be offered the medication free of charge for 1 year.