Psychiatry

You Are Not Alone

{OCD Awareness Week}

As a kid, I guess I had strange habits: tip toeing on floors to avoid picking up germs, blinking each eye a certain number of times on each side, tapping my fingers as if I was playing an imaginary piano, and the list goes on.  I never thought my habits were a problem until kindergarten when my mom was called to pick me up at school.  Apparently, it was wrong for me to pee in my pants because I thought the bathroom in my classroom wasn’t clean enough to use.  Fortunately, I outgrew most of these habits (yes, I no longer pee in my pants), but some of my symptoms still persist to some degree.  Though I do NOT have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I have several patients who suffer from the disorder and feel tormented by their debilitating symptoms.

In support of OCD Awareness Week (October 13-19, 2014), I want to share some knowledge and facts about OCD.

  • In the United States, OCD is the 4th most common psychiatric diagnosis
    • this means that 1 out of every 40 people in this country may suffer from OCD
  • Internationally, 1 in 100 adults, and up to 1 in 200 children likely have OCD

Therefore, if you have OCD YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

OCD is more detailed to discuss in one post, but the explanation I give my patients includes some of the following points:

  • Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree.  Some may cope with the anxiety by cleaning, organizing, and checking behaviors (such as checking doors to make sure they are locked), but those with OCD repeat these behaviors to the point that their symptoms cause impairment in their day to day lives.  Their symptoms can be quite distressing, time-consuming, and debilitating to the point that relationships, school, and work are negatively impacted.
  • One misconception is that people with OCD are perfectionists, rigid, controlling, domineering, and have a “my way or the highway” mentality.  This is not necessarily true because most people with OCD recognize that their symptoms are excessive and problematic, and more often feel embarrassed, ashamed, and far from perfect.

Now, if you’re wondering about my mismatched socks outfit — I’m wearing them to show even more support for OCD Awareness Week.  Though the week is almost over, you still have time to show your support and participate in promoting the discussion of OCD by wearing mismatched socks and posting a picture through social media (use hashtags #sockittoocd, #ocdweek).

For more details on OCD and its symptoms, please visit the International OCD Foundation website.

4 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. I don’t know if I would dare emulate your fashion statement, especially for a day in court, but on you they show a certain panache. 🙂 One suggestion. As part of my compulsive behavior, I counted your tags. I believe wordpress omits you from the reader for more than 15. Better fewer, but better as a Russian sage once wrote.

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