I, like many people will have referred to how we manage our daily functions as ‘a bit of OCD’ at some time or another and I for one can tend to compartmentalize my day, however this is very different to having obsessive compulsions.
I have realised OCD is a serious anxiety related condition where a person suffers very intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, followed by extreme repetitive compulsions and urges.
These thoughts are very different to mine, I recently had a dinner party and found myself setting the table by measuring the distance between each setting and making sure every item on the table was exactly the same distance away from each other. You could say this was demonstrating OCD behaviour, however I chose to do this and I feel this is my little ‘quirk’.
OCD effects around 1-2% of the population, men and woman alike and it has been classed as a very serious debilitating and paralysing illness and is often referred to as an ‘anxiety disorder’ or a ‘psychological condition’ and sometimes a ‘mental illness’.
Sufferers experience uncontrollable thoughts, images, worries and fears and they are often unwanted, disturbing, intrusive and interfere with the ability to function on a daily basis.
There are also a number of conditions that can be related to OCD, Body Dysmorphia and Hair Pulling to name a couple and they are regarded as part of the spectrum of obsessive compulsive symptoms.
There are four main categories to OCD:
- Intrusive Thoughts
I suppose we all experience these symptoms at one time or another especially in times of stress, however I have learnt that OCD can have a totally devastating impact on a person’s life including their education, career and personal relationships. Sufferers can go undiagnosed for years due to the shame and stigma and I suppose this could also be called another ‘secret illness’.
My final thoughts on this serious anxiety related condition is that we all have our little quirks and sometimes we like everything to be ‘just right’. However we have the choice as to whether we act on those thoughts and decisions, people that suffer with OCD don’t have that privilege and that is why the World Health Organisation has ranked OCD in the top 10 of most disabling illnesses of any kind.
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