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Natasha asked...

Frequent toilet visits

Everyday I seem to always need to go to the toilet, before I leave the house for work or anything I have to go at least twice otherwise I feel nervous and a little bit panicky. I don't genuinely need to go but my mind tells me that I do, it's ruining my lifestyle as when I'm out all I'm thinking about is where the nearest restroom is! People have told me it's a psychological thing but I'm not sure myself and wondered if it was anything serious/medical reasons, if it is psychological is there anything I can do to help it? I'm travelling to America in a few months and I'm dreading the whole journey already because of the toilet needs! Hope you can help or advise anything for me, thanks.

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The answer

From what you are describing we would say that you are possibly suffering from a condition called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD).

OCD is a mental health condition that causes an individual to have obsessive thoughts and rituals and can, if not monitored or treated impact on daily living and well being.

You explain that you have to keep going to the bathroom prior to leaving the house or other vicinity even though you do not need to and, if you do not you feel anxious this is where the obsession and ritual behaviour is apparent.

OCD can occur over all manner of things – most commonly hygiene issues, security and belongings.

OCD presents by the presence of a thought which then leads you to act on the thought in order to prevent anxiety setting in.

Usually we as individuals, can dismiss the thoughts so that repetitive actions do not need to be done but, with OCD this becomes hard to do and anxiety sets in. Relief gained from actions performed is only temporary and therefore the cycle resumes.

The fact that you have recognised this as becoming a habit and, an issue which is impacting on your daily life is a good thing because, it means that help can be sought and ways to help you overcome this can be commenced.

The first thing to do really is to arrange an appointment with your GP to discuss the issue – you have spoken to friends so may be one of them can come with you to the consultation for support.

Your GP once you have spoken to them can then start putting things in to place to help you overcome your anxieties and triggers and to rule out any other medical causes.

Treatment can consist of looking at the causes of your anxieties, other medical health implications, behavioural therapy and the prescription of medication to help ease anxiety symptoms.

The sooner you seek help the better as this can prevent your anxieties developing further and prevent other symptoms such as depression occurring.

Your GP may well suggest you have a psychiatric referral as well as psychotherapy and medication. The amount of help required will depend on how much of an OCD concern you are presenting with.

If you have a private health insurance policy then you may wish to see if you are covered for help in this area.

Some useful sources of information which may answer your questions further can be found at:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder 

www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy 

www.anxietycare.org.uk www.mind.org.uk

You have taken that first step in seeking help by speaking to your friends as well as contacting us so we are sure that taking the next step of contacting your GP will now be easier for you. Your GP as well as considering the psychological causes should also do investigations to rule out medical concerns such as possible infection.

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