The OCD Clinic is part of our adult primary care mental health services in East Sussex (Health in Mind) and in Brighton and Hove (Brighton and Hove Wellbeing Service).
What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition where people experience unwanted, intrusive and unpleasant thoughts and/or compulsive behaviours.
Obsessive thoughts are repeated and unpleasant intrusive thoughts, images or urges that pop into our mind involuntarily. Everyone experiences intrusive thoughts, but people with OCD can become preoccupied with these thoughts.
Compulsions are the things we do to try and stop obsessive thoughts from coming true. These compulsions are often repeated many times and can take several hours each day. Common examples of compulsions include checking (e.g. checking doors, electrical equipment) and cleaning (e.g. hand washing).
You can look at some questions about OCD here, these do not give a diagnosis but might help you to consider if OCD might be a problem for you.
Up to one million people in the UK live with some form of OCD. Fortunately there are well-established and effective ways of helping. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for OCD.
What is the OCD clinic?
The OCD Clinic is for adults experiencing difficulties with OCD whether the problem is mild or very severe. We offer high quality evidence-based help based on the latest research and NHS guidelines.
We provide care and treatment according to each person’s need. Therapies on offer include supported self-help using CBT principles and a CBT for OCD course. All our services are based on best practice guidelines.
Although CBT is helpful for the majority of people who have OCD not everyone benefits. A third to a half of people find they are not helped. To improve care for people with OCD we are involved in a number of research projects. Clients attending the clinic will be offered the opportunity to take part in these research projects if they so wish. Taking part in these projects is optional.
What can I expect?
When you are referred to the clinic we will offer you an assessment meeting with an expert clinician. At your assessment meeting we will discuss your difficulties with OCD and we will agree the best treatment plan together. You will also be offered the opportunity to sign up to the Research Network. This network offers you a chance to find out about the research happening in the clinic.
How do I get referred to the OCD clinic?
'If I am experiencing OCD and want some help'
If you are experiencing OCD difficulties and would like help please speak to your GP about a referral to the OCD Clinic.
You are also very welcome to refer yourself directly to the OCD Clinic:
If you live in East Sussex you can call 03000 030 130 and ask to be referred to the OCD clinic. Alternatively, you can complete a self-referral form. This form can be found at the bottom of the Health in Mind contact page. In the self-referral form box it will ask you to state ‘What are your current difficulties, as you see them?' In this box please state that you would like to be referred to the OCD Clinic.
If you live in Brighton and Hove you can call 0300 002 0060 and ask to be referred to the OCD Clinic or you can complete a self-referral form and state you would like to be referred to the OCD Clinic. Click here for the self referral form for Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove Assessment and Treatment Service (ATS)
Whilst there isn’t a self-referral option for those trying to access the OCD Clinic through the Brighton and Hove ATS, those who are open to the service and who are interested in accessing support should speak to a clinician working in this service who is directly involved in their care. A clinician will then be able to make a referral to the OCD Clinic on your behalf.
'If I am concerned about someone I know with OCD'
If you are concerned about someone you think might be struggling with OCD please show them this website and encourage them to speak to their GP or to contact us using one of the methods above.
Stories from the OCD clinic
Since its launch in November 2013, the OCD Clinic has helped more than 100 people and Theresa, who recently finished the 12 week course, praised it as ‘amazing’.
“When somebody first suggested the course I thought there is no way I am going into a room with people I don’t know to discuss my OCD, but deep down I knew I had to.”
“I first realised I had OCD at the age of 17 after I gave birth to my first daughter. I had intrusive thoughts initially and kept thinking that something terrible was going to happen to someone in my family. Then I started to perform rituals every 15-20 minutes like washing things over and over again, touching things and going in and out of rooms. It was taking up my whole day and took over my life.”
Having visited her GP, Theresa was referred to the OCD Clinic and found the experience really positive.
Theresa added: “OCD can be an embarrassing subject to talk about because it can be quite extreme and you spend most of your time trying to hide it. But for anyone afraid of seeking help I would say you should see your GP. OCD can take over your life so don’t suffer in silence. I had it for 25 years and I thought it would never go, but now I am on top of it.”
Deborah also found that her time at the clinic reduced the levels of her OCD difficulties having suffered with intrusive thoughts and constantly checking windows and doors for nearly 30 years.
“I first spoke to my doctor about my OCD and was given many different treatments, but nothing ever really clicked with me: I still kept feeling really anxious.”
“The help I have received at the clinic has made a massive difference. It has really made me understand what OCD is about, and to be able to meet people that are going through the same thing as me has been life changing. OCD takes over your life and you can’t really function properly, but there is help out there. There is hope.”
Laura Lea, the Public Patient Involvement Lead in the OCD Clinic said:
“We are really pleased that the discussions that patients had with clinicians about treatments has led to the opportunity to start a new clinic for people with OCD. At the same time the research which takes place in the clinic will help improve treatments and understanding of the problems that people with OCD face”.