The DL on OCD

You’ve heard it and prob­a­bly even said it, but do you ac­tu­ally know what it means? We give you the low-down...

Girlfriend - - THE DL -

At some point, you’ve prob­a­bly heard one of your friends say some­thing like, ‘I’m so OCD about keep­ing my makeup in or­der’ or ‘Mum hates when my room is messy – she’s so OCD’. It’s short for ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der, and most peo­ple just think it means you like things to be or­gan­ised a cer­tain way. But now ma­jor celebs are open­ing up about their bat­tles, prov­ing it’s about much more than just be­ing a ‘neat freak’.

So, WTH is it?

While you might imag­ine some­one with OCD madly run­ning around their house mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is in per­fect or­der, ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der is ac­tu­ally a chronic and long-last­ing con­di­tion in which a per­son has un­con­trol­lable or re­oc­cur­ring thoughts and be­hav­iours they feel the urge to re­peat again and again. Com­mon com­pul­sions might be things like check­ing re­peat­edly that a lamp is switched off, or only walk­ing through a door once you’ve opened and closed it a cer­tain num­ber of times. But they can also be much more se­ri­ous, like be­ing con­vinced you are go­ing to hurt or poi­son your fam­ily. OCD is com­monly linked to anx­i­ety and it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber you aren’t ‘crazy’ or ‘weird’ if you suf­fer from the con­di­tion.

What’s the cure?

When peo­ple start to ex­pe­ri­ence symp­toms of OCD, they of­ten try to keep it a se­cret and hope it will go away, but re­search shows it can get worse if you don’t seek proper help. Just like asthma or di­a­betes, there is not an in­stant ‘cure’, but it can be man­aged and treated so it doesn’t take over your life.

What do I do?

While you might feel like you can’t trust any­one, it’s im­por­tant to con­fide in a close friend, par­ent or even a school teacher. They will be able to help you speak with a doc­tor or psy­chol­o­gist to get pro­fes­sional help. Peo­ple of all ages, races and back­grounds can suf­fer from OCD, so don’t be afraid to speak up. You’re not alone.

Dr Ker­rie Buha­giar from ReachOut says: “A lot of peo­ple throw around the term OCD ca­su­ally and we all have oc­ca­sional anx­ious thoughts. But when these thoughts won’t go away and are ac­com­pa­nied by com­pul­sive be­hav­iours, they can take over your day-to-day life. If you’re feel­ing anx­ious, or think you have OCD, it’s im­por­tant to talk to some­one you trust about what’s go­ing on – it might be hard to talk about, but re­mem­ber OCD is treat­able.”

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