I So Have OCD
Lots of people think, “I so have OCD.” But do you really?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is very misunderstood and often thought of as quirks. “I like things clean,” “I like things straight,” “I like things organized,” or questions of “Did I lock the door” or “Did I turn off the iron.” I must have OCD!
What is OCD?
Let’s see if you do by exploring what OCD is. OCD consists of the obsessions (intrusive, unwanted thoughts, images or urges that cause distress and anxiety) and the compulsions (the behaviors to relieve the distress or anxiety of the obsessions).
Obsessions can be cleanliness, symmetry, things overly organized and anything that one feels compelled to do. So, what does one do about these obsessions?
Compulsions—like cleaning, checking items, dating things, organizing beyond normal—are behaviors that attempt to relieve the distress and anxiety of the obsession. The obsessions and compulsions can vary drastically from one person to the next. There doesn’t have to be a logical link between the obsession and the compulsion, as long as it relieves the distress and/or anxiety that one is feeling.
Should I be worried?
But when is it more than a quirk? The answer is: when it begins to interfere with daily life.
An estimated 1.2% of adults in the United States suffer from genuine OCD. Children and teens can also be affected by this disorder. OCD affects routines, home life, social life, school life, job, in general, every aspect of your life. Can you imagine such a strong drive to do something that you would be consistently late to important events (if you made it at all) or your child’s important events, just because you had to do something that others take for granted daily.
Some people recognize that something is not right and know it is extreme, but still cannot stop the urges, often to stop something terrible from happening. Some people have no insight and do the routines, not realizing the severity of their problem. No wonder this disease, which is a complete category on its own in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, leads to such distress and anxiety.
Is there help? YES! OCD can be treated! Sometimes behavioral therapy is all that is needed to address the issues if it is caught early enough. Sometimes the disease needs to be treated with medications. Yes, it is a disease, and yes, medication is an option when required.
A combination of therapy and medications yields the best results. If you believe you have OCD at any stage, please talk to your health care professional or seek mental health treatment. There is relief from the distress and anxiety to get back to an everyday healthy life again.
Obessive-compuslive behavior is more than a quirk when it begins to interfere with daily life.