Niall Horan achieved stratospheric success as part of the boyband One Direction before going at it alone. The stage seems like home to the Irish singer and songwriter but aspects of performing have proven challenging over the years. That’s because Niall has a mild version of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and/or behaviours.
According to the NHS, OCD has three main elements:
- Obsessions – where an unwanted, intrusive and often distressing thought, image or urge repeatedly enters your mind
- Emotions – the obsession causes a feeling of intense anxiety or distress
- Compulsions – repetitive behaviours or mental acts that a person with OCD feels driven to perform as a result of the anxiety and distress caused by the obsession.
“The compulsive behaviour temporarily relieves the anxiety, but the obsession and anxiety soon return, causing the cycle to begin again,” explains the health body.
“It’s possible to just have obsessive thoughts or just have compulsions, but most people with OCD experience both.”
How to treat OCD
Treatment and support are available to help you manage your symptoms and have a better quality of life.
According to mental health charity MIND, you may be offered talking therapies for OCD, either on their own, or along with medication.
Talking therapies are psychological treatments for mental and emotional problems like stress, anxiety and depression.
According to Mind, one of the most common is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour.
According to the OCD charity OCD UK, the medication used for treating OCD usually takes the form of antidepressants which act in the serotonin system, and are called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor.
“We do not know exactly why SSRIs are helpful for some people with OCD, it’s thought they might have an effect by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain,” explains the charity.
As it explains, they sometimes reduce the severity of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, by taking the “edge” off some of the anxiety experienced.
“Some users have described it to us that the anxiety experienced by OCD can feel like a sharp spike, but after taking medication, that sharp spike becomes more of a rounded spike.”
The Voice‘s Will.i.am has also revealed he has OCD.