Every now and then, I get smacked in the face by the sheer volume of misunderstanding regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Jokes, memes, comedy routines, and cultural norms all tend to make the obsessive or compulsive individual out to be a control freak, or a bully. But from the other side of the fence, it’s a very different experience. Here are the seven facts about OCD I think everyone should know.
- OCD isn’t just counting and cleaning. Any thought could become an obsession.
- Obsessions are primarily based on anxiety. A sense of doom, or even pain, is the engine that drives compulsions.
- You can’t see all symptoms of OCD. You may know someone with OCD who has never compulsively locked and unlocked their doors, or counted their steps. Some symptoms include internal monologues or mantras.
- OCD isn’t curable, but medication works. Many effective OCD medications address the anxiety that prompts the obsession, and drives compulsion. Without the anxiety, it’s easier to focus on healthy behavior.
- Individuals dealing with OCD often feel shame and doubt more keenly than others, and feel it more often. It’s pretty easy to make someone with OCD feel guilty. We’ve got a box of it by the door, ready for you.
- Medication isn’t enough by itself. Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and self-awareness are critical components of symptom management and treatment.
- The causes and symptoms of OCD are still being studied. This disease is still largely undiscovered. As with any illness, it takes years of testing, research, and peer-reviewed studies to determine new facts regarding the disease.
If you have OCD, please know you aren’t alone. If you know someone with OCD, treat them with kindness and support. They are trying, I promise.