NUI Galway Study Seeks 1,000 Participants who Experience Obsessions or Compulsions

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

NUI Galway campus. Photo: NUI Galway
NUI Galway campus. Photo: NUI Galway

Many people experience obsessive thoughts that they struggle to remove from their mind. Others have compulsive behaviours that they feel like repeating over and over again such as checking locks and washing. The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is seeking over a 1,000 people from across Ireland who experience any of these symptoms to participate in an online survey.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can significantly impact a person’s life, with some individuals spending as much as six hours per day experiencing these symptoms. Although a diagnosis of OCD is relatively uncommon, only occurring in 2-3% of the population, approximately a quarter of all people in community studies report experiencing lower-level obsessions or compulsions at some point in their lives.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can take many forms:

  • 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.

Certain emotions have been linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For example, a person may wash excessively to remove feelings of disgust. Furthermore, strong feelings of guilt and responsibility can be associated with excessive checking of switches and locks. This current research will seek to 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 along with Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme at the University. 

Speaking about the study, Mr McHugh from NUI Galway, said: “Obsessions can feel overwhelming and difficult to control. We aim to investigate whether strong emotions like guilt and disgust contribute to such symptoms.”

Dr Jonathan Egan who is a both a Chartered Health and Chartered Clinical Psychologist at NUI Galway, 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.”

To participate in the study email P.MCHUGH13@nuigalway.ie or  visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NUIGOCDStudy

Participants can enter a draw for a €100 One4All voucher on completion of the survey and request access to a summary of the results.

-Ends-

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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