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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Explained

Updated on April 16, 2015

We all have checked the oven a couple of times to be absolutely certain it is off or made sure the door is locked more than once, but when certain obsessions and compulsions become out of control, this is when a person may be diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. If you've seen my other lens about How NOT to Talk to a Person With Bipolar Disorder or my other lenses about mental disorders, you know that it gets under my skin so bad to hear people making jokes about mental disorders and poking fun of people who have them, and OCD is no different. OCD and other mental conditions are very real and uncontrollable. They affect people beyond their control, just as a person may acquire diabetes or cancer. If you have OCD, if you think you may have OCD, if you know someone with OCD, or if you are just plain curious about OCD, please read this page to learn more.

**Your very first step before you do anything else it to watch the must-see video below!**

Photo from Creative Commons

Free image from wikimedia commons
Free image from wikimedia commons

A Must See Video!

Excellent video touching on the struggles of Howie Mandel

I could not display this video on this page for whatever reason, but I still want to share it with you and implore you to watch it. It is about the very famous and gifted comedian Howie Mandel and his struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. It is absolutely a must-see glimpse into the life of someone who has been debilitated by OCD since the young age of six but refuses to let it win over his life. Please click on the link below to watch this amazingly informative and emotional video about Howie Mandel and OCD:

Howie Mandel video

Photo Credit: Guardian Technologies via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Guardian Technologies via Creative Commons

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Random Facts

**Please note the picture to the left does not suggest that OCD is only about hand-washing. Because it isn't.**

- OCD, a type of anxiety disorder, is about certain obsessions a person has and the compulsions the person has developed to temporarily alleviate the stress that the obsessions create.

- The person's obsessions tend to be centered on one or two things like the fear of germs, the need to count things, the need to be orderly and symmetrical, or the fear of and intruder.

- The compulsions, such as washing hands continually, locking the door over and over again, etc. only very briefly alleviate a bit of the stress that comes from the obsessions.

- OCD can start in childhood, but most often begins around the age of 19. About 1/3 of the people with OCD start the symptoms as young children.

- OCD affects women and men equally. In the United States alone, OCD affects a whopping five million individuals.

- Studies are ongoing and experts do not fully understand the disorder, but it seems to come about due to a combination of genetics, stressful events, low serotonin, and environmental issues.

- People with OCD are likely to also have substance abuse problems, have eating disorders, have issues with depression, and have a higher rate of suicide.

- OCD can completely take over a person's life. The person may not realize that his behavior is strange or he may fully realize it. Either way, it is completely uncontrollable - just watch the video above about Howie Mandel.

Symptoms of OCD

It is important to remember that everyone is different and, as well with all mental illnesses, one patient may experience symptoms differently than another. Below is a list of possible symptoms of OCD:

- Repeated thoughts or images about many different things or one thing in particular

- Repeated rituals

- Person cannot control thoughts and rituals

- The person does not get pleasure through the rituals, but does get brief relief from the anxiety that the thoughts cause.

- The person spends at least one hour per day on the thoughts and rituals.

- Symptoms may come and go and they can be worse in times of stress.

Complete this sentence: I or someone I know and love has...

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Informative Video About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This video really helps you further grasp what OCD really is and how many people are affected by it.

Further Info about OCD

Click on the links for more info

National Institute of Mental Health on OCD

OCD info on

If you have or know a child with OCD, read this:

OCD on

...and this:

Thank you for visiting!

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    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 

      4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      You have a lot of interesting lenses. I love reading them. : D

      And thank you for liking my "Ishinomaki, Sendai 2012-My experience" lens.

    • merfzel profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @opatoday: Thank you very much!! I think that video is important b/c it gives us a real glimpse of what OCD really is like. Huge props to Mandel for having the courage to speak up!

    • opatoday profile image


      4 years ago

      As far as I am concerned you are already a Giant in My eyes what an amazing and important lens! The Howie Mandele video was riveting

    • merfzel profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @Namsak: I understand...I have bipolar disorder and it is hard for everyone, at times. Thanks for speaking up!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Speaking from personal experience it is almost as hard living with someone with OCD as it is suffering from it oneself. It can be a very debilitating condition and affects not just the person suffering from it but the whole family.


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