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...
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.”