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NUI Galway looking for people with obsessive thoughts or compulsive disorders for survey

This research will examine the relationship between obsessional and compulsive symptoms and emotions such as guilt and self-disgust.

Image: Alexander Raths via Shutterstock

THE SCHOOL OF Psychology at NUI Galway is looking for more than 1,000 people who have obsessive thoughts or compulsive disorders to take part in an online survey.

Only 2-3% of the population are diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but around a quarter of people in community studies report experiencing lower-level obsessions or compulsions at some point in their lives.

Many people experience obsessive thoughts that they struggle to remove from their mind, while others have compulsive behaviours that they feel like repeating over and over again such as checking locks and washing.

OCD can significantly impact a person’s life, with some individuals spending as much as six hours per day experiencing these symptoms. It can take many forms, such as:

  • Thoughts about being contaminated or dirty and engaging in excessive washing
  • Repetitive checking of locks and switches or certain rituals to prevent bad events
  • Unpleasant and unwanted thoughts about engaging in immoral or aggressive acts
  • An excessive need for symmetry and order, associated with a ‘not just right’ feeling

Emotions such as guilt and disgust have been linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Strong feelings of guilt and responsibility can be associated with excessive checking of switches and locks, while some people may wash excessively to remove feelings of disgust.

This research will examine the relationship between such emotions and obsessional and compulsive symptoms.

The online study will be conducted by Patrick McHugh, a psychologist in clinical training at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway. McHugh said:

Obsessions can feel overwhelming and difficult to control. We aim to investigate whether strong emotions like guilt and disgust contribute to such symptoms.

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Dr Jonathan Egan, who is a both a chartered health and chartered clinical psychologist at NUI Galway, will also conduct the study with McHugh.

Dr Egan said: “When people do not reach out to others in order to normalise their thoughts, they may then start to experience distress.

Obsessions are often associated with thoughts which feel intrusive and out of your own control and if left untended to, can become a worrying pre-occupation and affect a person’s day-to-day life and may result in the need for a Chartered Clinical Psychologist’s intervention.

People who wish to participate in the study can do so by clicking here.

Read: What it’s really like living with OCD in Ireland>

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