Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that’s characterised by unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and behavioural or mental rituals (compulsions).

Feeling uncertain or having anxious thoughts happens to us all and it helps to keep us safe. For example, if you’re unsure whether you turned the iron off or not, and you go back to check it, that’s a healthy safety behaviour. However, if you keep checking the iron over and over, despite knowing it’s off, then your behaviour is becoming a pattern that could get in the way of your thoughts and life, and become unhealthy.

Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, images or urges that come in to your head that you can’t block out. For example, “did I turn off the iron?” (maybe the house will burn down!) or, “my hands are dirty” (the dirt is contaminated and I’ll probably get sick!). Obsessions can also be images of frightening or upsetting things. They may be urges to do something you don’t want to do. You may then try to cope with the obsession by repeating a behaviour you believe will decrease the risk of danger, therefore the anxiety you’re feeling.

This behaviour is called a compulsion (eg: repeated washing of hands or checking the iron).

Compulsions can be visible behaviours like checking or washing, or mental behaviours like counting or praying. When people feel they have to do these compulsions in a very precise way, or until they’re done properly, they’re called Rituals.

People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder repeat these behaviours over and over until they believe the danger has decreased or gone or until their anxiety/distress is reduced. OCD can have a significant impact on a person’s life!

The good news though is that, with the right treatment and support, it is possible to recover from OCD… and that’s where our PACE service comes in.


We can tell you all about OCD, including the treatment options and supports that are available. We can also refer you to a treatment provider or support service in your area.

If you would like more information about OCD, please contact us below.

Support groups

If you have OCD you probably feel extremely frustrated by the obsessive thoughts and your inability to stop those compulsive behaviours. If family and friends don’t understand what you’re going through, you can also feel quite isolated and alone.

Our Recovery Group offers a safe, relaxed space to talk about your experience with people who do understand – who are going through the same experience. The Group is also a great chance to learn recovery strategies.

For more information about the group visit the Recovery Groups page.

If you would like to attend one of the PACE support groups please contact us below.

One-on-one support

We can chat to you over the phone or face-to-face at one of our Centacare offices.

If you would like more information about PACE’s one to one support please contact us below.

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