Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental disorder in which people have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. There are two aspects of OCD; one is the pattern of obsessive thoughts that causes people to experience unease and anxiety, and the second is the exhibition of compulsive behaviors in attempts to remedy the obsessions and gain some mental peace.
Living with OCD is not easy, and it can become harder still due to the myths surrounding them. Debunking these myths is then important to get to the truth and thus make things easier for the people suffering from OCD.
6 common myths about OCD
Myth 1: OCD is all about being clean and tidy
OCD meaning commonly known as being diligent about cleaning. If your friend likes things in order, you will jokingly call them OCD. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding can trivialize the plight of people suffering from OCD.
Cleaning and contamination obsession is one type of OCD. People who have this condition continuously clean for hours, even if the thing is tidy. They might even hurt themselves in the process, such is the gravity of the condition.
Myth 2: People with OCD are neurotics
In colloquial, ‘neurotic’ is a pejorative term used for someone who is anxious, negative, and cynical all the time. However, to call people with OCD neurotic is an unkind thing to do.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition. People do not choose to have it. If they exhibit any neurotic tendencies, it is on account of their illness, for which you should develop empathy.
Myth 3: Stress can cause OCD
Stress certainly is among the OCD symptoms, but it alone does not cause OCD. When people experience obsessive thoughts, they become stressed and anxious, so they need to follow it with behavioral intervention.
So, asking people with OCD to calm down and relax is not entirely the right way to go about it.
Myth 4: The symptoms of OCD are apparent
Unfortunately, mental health problems like OCD are not so straightforward. Of course, the myths about them do not help. So, it is entirely possible that someone you know has OCD, but they are not aware of it.
Another factor that compounds the issue is the shame surrounding it. Many people with OCD avoid going out in public because they are ashamed of their behaviors, and it makes it harder for others to get them help.
Myth 5: Childhood trauma can cause OCD
The exact cause of OCD is not yet understood, so having a troubled childhood does not mean you have OCD. However, a history of trauma can increase the risk of getting the obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Furthermore, experiencing trauma during childhood can put you at risk for mental health problems like anxiety, which are then correlated with OCD. But in itself, childhood trauma does not cause OCD.
Myth 6: You cannot treat OCD
Treating OCD is possible; you will need professional help for it, but you can successfully manage the condition. With medication, therapy, or both, people can learn to live a full and wholesome life with OCD. However, you cannot entirely cure the condition.