I know the title is cheesy, but I think you all know by now, that I am an unapologetic cheesy person. I’ve wanted to do a post about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), for quite some time. Only because, if anybody sees someone who is very uptight about cleanliness, there are jokes on how OCD the person is. I don’t have OCD, and I find that offensive. Okay, okay, okay… I will admit I have made those jokes in the past a few times. But that was before I really got involve with mental health when I was 20 yrs old. Hopefully, this entry will clear up many misconceptions about this disorder. So let’s hip hop hooray our way to the OCD jamboree! (Yes, cornier Naughty By Nature jokes)
But first… **breaks out into MC Hammer pants** knowledge time! What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? We know it’s a compulsion, but a compulsion about what exactly? We think it’s all about cleanliness. But is that the complete definition? Not entirely. Everybody experience unpleasant thoughts. Just most people know how to move on from them. People with OCD have them “stuck” in their brains. They’re like the brain’s junk email. Most people have a spam filter and can simply ignore incoming junk mail. But having OCD is like having a spam filter that has stopped working – the junk mail just keeps coming, and it won’t stop. Soon, the amount of junk mail exceeds the important mail, and the person with OCD becomes overwhelmed.
What causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Researchers don’t really have a definitive answer. They are many different theories. Some of them being about genetics and the way human serotonin are transported. But again, nothing that has solves this riddle. All in all, it is usually a combination of neurobiological, genetic, behavioral, cognitive, and environmental factors that trigger the disorder in a specific individual at a particular point in time.
Compulsions are actually learned responses that help an individual reduce or prevent anxiety or discomfort associated with obsessions or urges. An individual who experiences an intrusive obsession regarding germs, for example, may engage in hand washing to reduce the anxiety triggered by the obsession. Hand washing ritual temporarily reduces the anxiety, the probability that the individual will engage in hand washing when a contamination fear occurs in the future is increased. As a result, compulsive behavior not only persists but actually becomes excessive.
So how many people have this disorder? According to Beyond OCD, 1 in every 40 adults (5 million Americans) and 1 in every 100 children has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Also, according to the World Health Organization, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability. They are higher rates of women who have OCD than men.
Besides all the statistics, what is the personal feeling of having this disorder? I really can’t say since I do not have it, but I do have OCPD, which it’s almost like its sister. I will discuss about OCPD in a later entry. But imagine feeling a swarm of anxious, overwhelming emotions as you think about the most traumatic experience in your life, because something has triggered it. You feel hopeless and out of control. You hate this feeling. You need an immediate quick fix to get over this intense feeling. So flipping the light switch 5 times, washing your hands 7 times, or counting the ceiling tiles brings relief. You know in your head that it’s silly, but it brings so much comfort, that you do it. You can’t even help it! It’s like that unbearable itch that you need to scratch. You know it would make the situation worse, but you just need to scratch it for the temporary relief. Does that make any sense?
If any of you have OCD, please share your feelings on the comment below and describe your experience to the best of your abilities. I’m not sure if my description has done any of you any justice. I’m sure it’s worse than what I’m putting into words. Again, although I have OCPD, I don’t want anybody get confuse my experience compare to your experience. I love when people comment. So please participate.
Well, that’s my entry in regards to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If I left out anything or you have more questions, please comment below or CONTACT ME. It’s always tough having mental illness and trying to navigate in the world that misinterprets your illness. But with help of a therapist, support system, meds, and of course self-care, you can do it. You just have to adult one day at time. xoxo
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