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What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric condition that causes individuals to experience a range of symptoms known as ‘obsessions’ and ‘compulsions’. Obsessions refer to irrational and persistent thoughts or urges, and compulsions are characterised by individuals feeling compelled to perform certain mental or physical rituals. Some OCD sufferers may only experience one type of symptom, either obsessions or compulsions, whilst others can experience both.

Our psychiatrists and psychologists at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai recognise that experiencing obsessions and compulsions can be extremely confusing and distressing for individuals suffering from OCD. OCD treatment at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai focuses on enabling you to identify the triggers for your obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviours, before equipping you with the skills to manage these, improve your psychological wellbeing and regain control of your life.

OCD treatment in Dubai

At Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai our specialist team of psychiatrists and psychologists are able to deliver structured, bespoke OCD treatment in Dubai in order to examine the source and underlying causes of your condition, and work collaboratively with you to alleviate symptoms.

One of the most widely used treatment methods for OCD is a psychotherapeutic technique known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT aims to challenge the irrational thought patterns that are associated with OCD, reduces your obsessive-compulsive behaviours and teaches you skills for viewing and responding to situations in healthier ways.

What are the signs and symptoms of OCD?

There are a number of common obsessions and compulsions that people with OCD may typically experience.

Examples of obsessions include:

  • Constantly worrying that you forgot to turn off an appliance or lock a door
  • Overwhelming fear of germs or contamination
  • Irrational beliefs that you might harm another person
  • Intrusive sexual thoughts
  • Constantly questioning your sexuality

Examples of compulsions include:

  • Washing your hands or bathing multiple times each day, regardless of need
  • Avoiding objects that may be contaminated or only touching certain objects with a tissue
  • Counting or repeating certain words/phrases over and over again
  • Rearranging objects so that these are symmetrical or aligned in a certain way
  • Repeating ritualistic actions a set number of times or for a certain amount of time e.g. turning a light switch on and off a certain number of times

What are the long-term effects of OCD?

Without expert psychiatric treatment, OCD can result in a number of long-term psychological problems including:

What causes OCD?

Research indicates that there are a number of factors that may contribute to the likelihood of an individual developing OCD. These include:

Genetics – having a parent or sibling who suffers from OCD. This may be due to hereditary factors or early exposure to obsessive-compulsive behaviours, thus normalising such behaviours

Gender – males are more likely to develop obsessions whereas females are more likely to develop compulsions. Males are also more likely to experience an early onset of OCD symptoms than females

Environmental factors – such as stressful or traumatic events during childhood, especially sexual/physical abuse

For further information on OCD treatment in Dubai call today on: (+971) 4 245 3800 or submit an enquiry form in confidence. We will provide you with details on all our treatments and offer help on how to manage your mental health at a time that suits you.


Imane Bougueffa, Counsellor

This page was clinically reviewed by Imane Bougueffa (BPsych, MScPsych, Counsellor DHCC) in March 2019, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in March 2021. Imane is a trilingual (Arabic, French and English) Clinical Psychologist with 9 years experience in the field. She has extensive experience working with adults and children. Imane specializes in using acceptance-commitment therapy (ACT) in the treatment of mood disorders and also has experience with child problems including bedwetting, jealousy, fears, education, ADHD and learning disabilities. View Imane's full profile here.