A specialist centre in Hellingly which treats people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has helped more than 100 people since it was opened in November last year.
Now the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust is urging people to seek help and visit the OCD Clinic Headquarters in Hellingly if they suspect they might be suffering from OCD.
Nearly 60,000 people in the county experience symptoms of the condition, which can include spending a long time washing your hands when you touch something, or repeatedly checking you have turned the oven off, for fear something bad might happen if you don’t carry out the ritual.
Sufferers of the condition experience unwanted, intrusive and unpleasant thoughts and compulsive behaviours. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and although OCD affects individuals differently, most people with the condition fall into a set pattern of thoughts and behaviour.
Resident Theresa Harvie, who recently finished the 12 week programme at the clinic, praised it as ‘amazing’.
She said: “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.”
Dr Clara Strauss, a clinical psychologist at the trust, said: “It is important that people who think they have OCD seek help because OCD may not get better on its own. On average people wait for 10 years before they seek help and often do not share their difficulties with friends and family members.
“There are highly effective psychological therapies available and at our OCD Clinic in East Sussex we offer two main treatments based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).”
Adults living in East Sussex who think they have OCD can refer themselves to the OCD Clinic by calling 03000 030 130 or can speak to their doctor about being referred.