By Dr. Jeff Zeidenberg, ND, RP (Q)
Information sourced from iocdf.org
In light of the recent OCD awareness week that recently passed, I wanted to highlight important facts as well as common myths about the anxiety disorder.
- OCD impacts 1-2% of the population with many Canadians remaining undiagnosed and untreated as a result.
- Each person’s experience of OCD is different but ultimately, sufferers engage in specific actions or behaviours called compulsions to reduce unbearable anxiety caused by repetitive unwanted thoughts, images, sensations, memories or urges.
MYTH: OCD is an adjective, a quirk or personality trait
- It’s a highly prevalent mental health condition that can involve severe, incapacitating anxiety and unrest, related to repetitive, intrusive/unwanted thoughts
- OCD strongly influences thoughts, emotions and behaviours
MYTH: OCD sufferers can stop or ”turn off” the need to use compulsions and relax
- OCD sufferers do NOT want to have compulsions but feel they have to do certain things excessively and repetitively
MYTH: OCD sufferers are just being overreactive and annoying
- OCD is not an overreaction to triggers or the stressors of life and does NOT follow logic
MYTH: OCD is all about cleanliness, symmetry, being neat and repeating actions like hand-washing and checking that doors are locked
- The media has presented OCD, with focus on sufferers whom deal with obsessions about contamination, order, and obtaining “just right” OCD feelings. Only a small portion of OCD sufferers deal solely with these subtypes
- OCD presents with many subtypes, including sufferers obsessing about doubts over what if they spontaneously lose control? What if I harm/offend someone? What if I am living a lie? What if I need to fix something in my past? Etc.
- Compulsions also present in numerous ways besides hand-washing and checking – repeating, counting, analyzing, avoidance, seeking reassurance and more.
- The variety in obsessions and compulsions, make OCD difficult to detect for sufferers and their loved ones
MYTH: OCD is a hopeless mental health disorder
- It’s very possible for OCD sufferers to live meaningful, rich and productive lives
- OCD is an emotionally-driven, mental health disorder, where sufferers are influenced by obsessions to seek for a relief from the unbearable anxiety felt
- When doing so, sufferers begin to prioritize fixing anxiety and most likely do NOT focus on their life goals, self-care
These Common Misbeliefs of OCD
- Act as an obstacle for OCD sufferers to get appropriate and effective support, guidance and resources
- Lead to OCD sufferers feeling isolated, invalidated and not cared for
- The use of “I’m so OCD” is minimizing what OCD sufferers are experiencing
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OCD, THE MYTHS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP see @IOCDF
If you would like to learn more about OCD, click the link below to speak with our very own @drJeffznd. He has worked alongside OCD patients and sufferers for many years. Dr. Jeff is highly passionate about providing OCD patients with empowerment, resiliency and the added ability to better cope when aggravated by OCD.