12 Things You Didn’t Know About OCD

Have you ever told someone they’re ‘too OCD’ because they like to keep their belonging in order or because they’re particular about washing their hands before a meal?

Affecting 2-3% of the Indian population, OCD is often dismissed as humorous, an over-reaction or trivial. OCD, however, is a debilitating mental disorder that causes extreme distress and disruption of daily life to those who suffer from it.

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With the misinformation in society and popular culture about OCD, it is common for people to misdiagnose themselves casually without understanding the nature of the disorder. Here are some lesser known facts about OCD:

  1. While it is true that people with a preoccupation for cleanliness can suffer from OCD, they’re very different from your garden variety neat freak. For example, if you find that your social, professional and personal life is often affected by your pressing necessity to maintain cleanliness and order; chances are you might suffer from OCD.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, people with OCD do understand that their behaviour is unreasonable and often go to great lengths to conceal it from people around them.
  3. “Obsessions”, for an OCD patient are unreasonable ideas that cause extreme anxiety and they will engage in “Compulsive” behaviours to alleviate this. For example, someone with OCD may be convinced that if they don’t align their shoes in a particular way a certain number of times, their loved ones may be in grave danger.
  4. People with OCD can have a variety of obsessions, ranging from compulsive counting and repeating to violent thoughts. These behaviours and thoughts are often at extremes.
  5. Patients of OCD normally suffer from other disorders as well such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc.
  6. OCD causes a great deal of anxiety, which the patient then tries to diffuse by engaging in compulsive or ritualistic behaviour.
  7. Those suffering from OCD often experience massive guilt and shame about their obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.
  8. The ridicule and shame people with OCD experience often stops them from receiving the care they need in order to lead fulfilling lives.
  9. The symptoms of OCD can manifest themselves as early as at the age of 2. Children, unlike adults, cannot tell that their behaviour may be unreasonable.
  10. OCD is very different from OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). These individuals tend to be perfectionists, and a slight change in their schedules can upset them and cause them to withdraw themselves. The symptoms of OCD are very different from OCPD. Unlike patients of OCD, people with OCPD do not experience overwhelming shame or guilt.
  11. Patient of OCD can learn to control and deal with their behaviour with psychological and psychiatric intervention. However, there is no permanent cure for the condition.
  12. OCD not only causes chemical changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters such as serotonin, but research also suggest structural changes in the brain. The cause of these changes is yet to be explored.

If you or anyone you know suffers from OCD, click here to speak to a Psychiatrist

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