How many times have you heard the phrase: “You tidy up a lot, and your house is always clean; you are such an OCD!”, just because you are a neat freak?
Unfortunately, many people think that OCD ( Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) means that your closet is color-coordinated or your shoes are lined up precisely in your shoe rack. Little do they know that OCD is not lovely as it may seem. In fact, it can be a matter of life or death.
What is OCD?
Before heading out, you check that the stove is off. That’s totally fine. But then, a voice inside you urges you to head inside again and double-check that the stove is off for fear of putting your house on fire. Even after doing so for the umpteenth time, your mind is not put at ease and you are still worried that the stove might be on and your house might catch fire. Yes, this is what OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) looks like; and no, it’s not lovely at all!
OCD is one of the most common mental disorders that is characterized by uncontrollable obsessions that cause anxiety. To control these obsessive thoughts, people with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) repeatedly resort to compulsive behaviors or rituals known as compulsions that offer relief for a short time. People with OCD can have obsessions, compulsions, or even both. Obsessions are nagging and intrusive thoughts, images, fears, urges, and sensations that plague you every day, hampering your daily life and causing distress. In fact, obsession can take different forms. Be it in cleanliness (extreme fear of germs and contamination), order (obsession with symmetry and order) hoarding ( impossible disposable of possessions), counting ( repetitive count of belongings and other stuff), and safety (unreasonable fear about safety). On the other hand, compulsions are any actions, behaviors, or routines that OCD sufferers do to put their racing minds to rest, relieve their anxiety, and get rid of the obsessions for a while.
Studies have shown that around 94% of the population is pestered by obsessive thinking and intrusive thoughts at some time. This doesn’t always mean that they are suffering from OCD. However, if these intrusive thoughts are beyond control, consume a lot of time, and affect day-to-day functioning, the patient should seek help.
Are OCD sufferers dicing with death?
OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is a silent killer, especially if it reaches a peak. In fact, it is more serious than you think as a person with OCD can hide his suffering well; and even act normally among people even though he will be battling with an inner voice that is forcing him to think and do irrational things all the time. When these unwanted thoughts and obsessions hit the rock bottom, the sufferer might become hopeless believing that this vicious loop will never end, and eventually consider suicide as his only savior. Moreover, severe OCD can be accompanied by several mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, and dysmorphic disorder. In this case, life becomes unbearable to the sufferer and he might end up taking his own life.
Is there hope for those struggling?
Indeed! OCD can be treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of both, and studies have shown that most patients respond to these treatments. Moreover, meditation, yoga, and massage can ease OCD symptoms. Rarely, and in case OCD therapy and medicine aren’t beneficial, doctors consider neuromodulation, devices that alter the electrical activity of certain brain areas, and they are quite promising.
Unfortunately, the term “OCD” is still widely misused and underrated. Many people believe that it only revolves around being excessively clean and organized, unaware that this “doubting disease” has ended many lives.