Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

If you were to take a guess as to how many adults in the United States suffer from OCD, what would it be?

According to The National Institute of Mental Health and other sources, that number is 2.2 million people. In addition, about 1 in 100 children have OCD, bringing the total people in the U.S. afflicted to 3.3 million. It's much more common than many realize.

In our show Facing the Rain, we tell Keith's story of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Keith shares ways he uses humor to cope with his symptoms.
I'd like to share an intro to OCD and its common symptoms. Next week we'll discuss one of the best kinds of treatment for OCD. Thanks for reading!
~ Oriana at Erasing the Distance

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


OCD is a neurobiological disorder. Research shows that the disorder may involve communication errors that take place between the front part of the brain and the deeper parts of the brain.

Many with OCD have co-existing disorders – 66% have Major Depression and 26% have panic attacks.


Obsessions – constant, intrusive, unwanted thoughts that cause distressing emotions such as anxiety and disgust. People experiencing obsessions recognize that these persistent images are a product of their own mind and that they are excessive and unreasonable. Yet, these thoughts cannot be settled by logic or reasoning.

Some examples:

Fear of contamination, excessive concern about objects having to be perfect or in a certain order, thinking you have injured someone or might cause harm to yourself or someone you care about, fear of having left the lights, oven, or other things on or unlocked, gross sexual imagery, inability to throw things away, horrible impulses to hurt a loved one.

Often, people with OCD find that repeated behaviors or rituals decrease their concern and so they feel compelled to repeat them in order to reduce their discomfort. These behaviors typically consume at least one hour of every day.

Compulsions – behaviors that relieve the unbearable anxiety related to the obsession. In the most severe cases, a constant repetition of rituals may fill the day, making a normal routine impossible. Compounding the anguish these rituals cause is the knowledge that the compulsions are irrational.

Some examples: Obsessive Cleaning/Washing, Repeating of names, phrases, or behaviors (tapping, etc…), Completing of a Particular Task/Routine in an exact order, Checking, Being meticulous, Avoiding, and Hoarding.

OCD in children: You may not be aware of the full extent of a child’s symptoms because many of them occur in the mind and others are easily hidden or disguised. A child with OCD may avoid certain things, seems distracted, inattentive or irritable, repeatedly seek reassurance or confess minor transgressions, or cannot tolerate uncertainty. A cognitive behavior therapist can help determine whether these behaviors are attributed to OCD.

OCD symptoms can wax and wane over time, and sometimes change.

For readers in Chicago, the organization OCDChicago can be a terrific resource. http://www.ocdchicago.org/

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this great information. Having suffered from OCD for many years I can say that it is a very debilitating disorder. I have learned to deal with my OCD from http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-ocd. I hope that others with OCD find this website helpful.