Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined as:
The presence of obsessions and/or compulsions.
NIMH states that OCD is a common, chronic, long-lasting disorder which leaves the person with uncontrollable thoughts and/or behaviors they feel the need to repeat over and over.
To further understand this definition let’s break it down.
Obsessions are defined as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
OCD combines these two together to create excessive/persisting thoughts and behaviors that go beyond developmentally appropriate periods.
According to the International OCD Foundation most people will experience obsessive thoughts/compulsions in their lifetime but that does not mean we all have “some OCD.” In other words, just because something bothers you to the point you have to ‘fix it’, say a crooked picture, the way your desk is arranged, the way your pots and pans are put away, does not mean you have OCD.
“My OCD got the better of me,” is something I am guilty of stating once or twice. To say something like that is an insult to those who deal with this disorder every day of their life, and I apologize. I won’t say it again. What I, and countless others, experience is nothing compared to what you deal with day in day out.
I realize that after the research I did for this blog post.
An OCD diagnosis requires the obsessions and compulsions to get to an extreme that consumes enough of the person’s time and energy to the point it prevents important activities.
According to the DSM-5™ 25% of OCD cases begin by the time the person is 14 years old, with the average onset age between 19 and 20 years of age. It is rare for it happen after the age of 35 but can happen. If you are a male, then you are more likely to develop OCD at an earlier age than if you are female, the statistics state that 25% of males who develop OCD are under 10 years of age. Symptoms usually appear gradually.
If left untreated OCD can become chronic.
What causes OCD?
The more I dug online into OCD and its causes, the more I realized how many opinions about the causes of OCD are out there. They range from brain disorder, genetics, and environment (triggers). Clearly more research is needed.
But one thing is for certain, no one asks to have OCD. No one seeks this out. Like the other mental disorders, I’ve written about Depression and Anxiety, OCD is not the fault of the person who suffers from it. They need our understanding, love, and most importantly support in getting treatment. That means as a society we need to stop stigmatizing mental disorders as shameful and realize them for what they are; medical conditions that need professional medical and psychological treatments.
To learn more about OCD, including symptoms, diagnosis, and causes visit: