Exploring and understanding OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

When referring to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, there seems to be a very common misconception among society: that it is simply an odd or erratic behavior, which masks the seriousness of the illness. According to Wikipedia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is “an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions”. An individual suffering from OCD may exhibit odd or erratic behavior, but there is a reason; they are doing so to try and prevent intrusive thoughts or alleviate their anxiousness. The afflicted individual may act in this manner because they feel it will circumvent what they deem a potentially life-threatening or catastrophic event.

The repetitive actions that afflicted individuals makes are called compulsions and may take form in a variety of ways, but generally can be referred to as: a repetitive, compulsive action performed by the afflicted individual which usually adheres to a pattern. Some of the compulsions may be: constantly checking an object to make sure it is in order (adhering to a pattern), hoarding various goods (such as perishable items, news papers, etc.) and organizing them in a certain manner, adhering to a pattern (alphabetically, by expiry date, by weight, etc.) or; excessive cleanliness, stemming from fear of contamination (contracting germs). These are some but not all of the potential compulsions an individual may exhibit.

OCD is also usually accompanied with one of the other various mental illnesses (anxiety, depression, etc.) which has the unfortunate side effect of exacerbating the accompanied illness, making it quite difficult to diagnosis. If anyone feels as though they have been experiencing symptoms of OCD or any other mental illness, or even simply have further questions about mental illness in general, please contact your local Mental Health Association or a medical health professional

In closing, I would like to share with you all this video. It gives more insight as to what OCD really is and the ramifications it can have on an individual’s life.