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All About OCD

Updated on July 9, 2009

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is quite an interesting illness if you don't suffer from it, or have to live with someone who does. OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is often misunderstood and even laughed at. But if you have OCD, I assure you, it's not a laughing matter. People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder suffer tremendously. It's often a very lonely disease - unless you have it, it's very difficult to fully understand. Though one thing does need to be clear: the person who has OCD NEVER enjoys the obsessions and compulsions. If you are enjoying your rituals or what you are obsessing about, then chances are, you do not have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In fact, it's a very painful illness, as well as very time consuming. When the obsessions and rituals of OCD are at their worst, the victims work and home life can completely fall apart. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks OCD as the tenth most disabling illness, in terms of diminished quality of life and lost earnings.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a very serious anxiety-related disorder that affects as many as three in one hundred people - from young children to older adults. Sometimes people go years without being diagnosed, partially because of a lack of understanding of the illness, and partially because of the embarrassment that one experiences with it. OCD is often called the "secret illness" because of the shame, embarrassment and even guilt that is experienced by people who suffer from it.

OCD manifests itself in many different ways, but for the most part sufferers experience repetitive and intrusive thoughts, images and doubts. The thoughts compromise the "obsessional" part of the OCD. The thoughts are so intrusive and cause so much anxiety that often (not always) a person is led to perform compulsions in order to alleviate the obsessions. Some sufferers are plagued with the obsessions, but perform no rituals. This is often referred to as "Pure O."

The most common obsessions (the ones that most people are familiar with) are contamination and germ obsessions. But OCD has no limits! Other common obsessions are upsetting sexual or violent thoughts, religious obsessions, having possessions in the correct order, worrying about throwing things away, worrying about losing things, and so on. But keep in mind, it's not limited to those things - it can be anything.

Suffers try to ease these obsessions with physical and mental rituals. The compulsions involve repeated actions; such as checking, arranging, counting, hoarding, washing, and endless ruminating. Another common symptom is that of avoiding feared situations; however, this usually ends up exasperating the situation by increasing rumination. What is difficult is trying to decide what is a healthy fear (fear of painful compulsions caused by obsessions) and an unhealthy fear (I can't go into the bathroom because I will have to touch the door on the way out).

Most individuals with OCD know that their obsessions and compulsions are completely irrational, but feel totally incapable of stopping them. This is an extraordinarily desperate feeling. One almost feels as though they are trapped in their own private little hell. They feel as though they are completely isolated with no way out and no way to make anyone else understand. How would anyone understand when it seems so totally nonsensical even to the person that suffers with it?

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    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      8 years ago from Colorado

      I would be happy to help in any way that I can. Leave me your e-mail or feel free to e-mail me.

    • profile image

      hollz 

      8 years ago

      i have a severe case of OCD and im only 16. its ruining my life, and i need help....

    • profile image

      hollz 

      8 years ago

      i have a severe case of OCD and im only 16. its ruining my life, and i need help....

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      8 years ago from Colorado

      Thank you, Harlan. I will get in touch.

    • profile image

      Harlan 

      8 years ago

      I can help I have severe ocd I have a lot to offer

      harlanpoo@hotmail.com

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      I will have to try that, Shalini. Thank you!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      9 years ago from India

      That's a great hub on OCD Katie! One remedy that seems to bring a lot of relief is the Bach flower remedy - Crab Apple. It is gentle, no side effects and helps the person cope better.

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Do you still suffer from OCD? If not, what did you do to free yourself from the symptoms? I'm glad that you've found some peace. (-:

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 

      9 years ago

      I suffered for years from OCD and you have written about a subject that is so hard to define. And really well,thanks hubuddy,hope you are doing well.

      Kimberly

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      I will do that, Brandi. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Brandi 

      9 years ago

      Hey thanks for commenting on my hub... I am not currently taking medication. I was once on such high doses to control my outrages rituals, now if I took medication the dose would have to be high to have any major effect and for me the obsessions are more easily managed with exposure, so the meds arent worth it. Thanks again for commenting and keep checking out my hub, as I update it frequently. :)

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Thank you, Jen. I look forward to learning more from you as well. Hubpages are great -- tons of information!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Hi KatieE39, I appreciated learning that someone who enjoys their rituals probably does not have OCD. I look forward to learning more from you.

      ~Jen

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Thank you, K@ri, for the nice words.  It is a difficult, and sensitive subject.  I guess I would like people who suffer from this to know that they aren't alone.  I would also like to educate the population, so that perhaps it would inspire compassion for people who suffer not only from OCD, but from mental illness in general.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      Katie, Great Hub on a difficult subject. Many OCD sufferers, as you bring up, never get help due to the embarrassment of how they perceive their problem. I think you did a wonderful job at explaining this!

    • KatieE39 profile imageAUTHOR

      KatieE39 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Please feel free to leave comments or questions for me.

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