Although many television shows and movies depict Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, as a comedic disease, it is far from that. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a common anxiety disorder that causes one to be obsessed with a number of different things, such as organizing or keeping up a routine. OCD also causes unnecessary fears like the fear of contamination or fear of death. This disorder is often very dangerous to one’s health, both physically, emotionally, and socially.
Everyone has habits. You might have to organize your room or else it drives you insane. You might be a clean freak, therefore you’re always washing your hands. These common habits don’t even come close to the obsession and compulsion those with OCD struggle with. They have intrusive, disturbing thoughts or fears that cannot be ignored and compel the sufferer to engage in ritualistic, irrational behaviors to relieve the resulting anxiety.
An excessive fear of germs may prompt repetitive hand-washing or a refusal to touch doorknobs or use objects handled by another person. But the rituals they perform may be unrelated to the anxieties that trigger them: opening and closing doors an exact number of times, for example, or stepping over every crack or line, or counting to a certain number before performing an activity.
People with OCD know that their thoughts and actions are not realistic, but they cannot stop themselves from behaving this way. Performing compulsive rituals only temporarily relieves their anxiety, resulting in a need to re-enact them again and again.
All of these rituals take up a great deal of time, making it next to impossible for one to live a normal life. Compulsions such as hoarding can make it hard to have people over, and cleanliness can cause people to become isolated in fear of becoming contaminated by friends and family.
Without the correct treatment, OCD will not be resolved on its own. Therapy is the number one method of treatment, forcing patients to push themselves beyond their limits. Many have to come face to face with their fears and overcome them. Certain anxiety medications may be used as well.
One in three people have some form of OCD, and it is a serious problem. The best thing to do when dealing with someone with OCD is to just be patient. They want the problem to be gone as much as anyone else.