Here are a few facts on what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder really is:
* OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (those are the obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (those are the compulsions). Carrying out the behaviors to get rid of the thoughts will only provide temporary relief for people with OCD. People with compulsive behaviors are often aware that their behavior is detrimental to their lives, but still can’t stop their actions.
* OCD symptoms usually appear before a person is 30 years old.
* Symptoms include: Obsessions or compulsions that are not due to medical illness or drug use, and cause major distress or interfere with everyday life.* Common obsessions/compulsions include fear of germs, excessive counting, checking and re-checking actions (like making sure the door’s locked), and excessive hand washing. Some people with OCD feel that if they don’t carry out certain actions, something bad will happen.
*Treatments include medications and therapy, particularly exposure therapy, where the person with OCD is repeatedly exposed to situations in which the obsessive thoughts occur, then learns to deal with the thoughts. With treatment, people with OCD can make huge improvements, which will allow them to live with a lot less stress.
If you think you may have OCD, don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor or therapist. Starting with a parent or guidance counselor at school could help if you don’t know what to do. This site also has plenty of resources.
Do you know anyone with OCD? Do you ever joke about having OCD, but know that you’re just super organized? Tell me what’s what in the comments!