So much more is known now about obsessive-compulsive disorder than was known even 25 years ago. We're familiar with what causes it, how to treat it, and — more important, perhaps — what
Although OCD can be frustrating to live with (or around), the news is mostly good: It is infinitely treatable. The hardest part might just be getting started.
If you have OCD, or suspect that you do, take heart: you're much better off than your grandmother would have been under the same circumstances. (In fact, if you have OCD, it's likely that others in your family did or do, too, as it's largely hereditary.)
There's truth in the adage that knowledge is power. Hold a little information up to the OCD monster and watch it shrink.
OCD can be unpleasant, but it is not fatal and it is far from hopeless.
If you learn one thing about the disorder, let it be this: It is a neurological condition, most probably genetic. Whether you have it has little to do with your upbringing, experiences or anything other than the workings of your brain. A person who has OCD may act a little “crazy,” but absolutely isn't.
OCD can be horrible, but it is also fascinating. And you may be pleased to know that it often affects bright, creative people.
Forget the stereotypes: OCD isn't necessarily about cleaning your kitchen counters endlessly or counting the number of steps you take on the way from your house to the supermarket (although it
If any of that describes you, welcome home. (There can be many other symptoms, as well.) Your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors might seem a little “out there” to you or to others, but rest assured: they may be commonplace within the OC community. In fact, they probably are.
You might also be surprised to receive more understanding from strangers than from family or friends (although this is not always the case). People often find themselves feeling frustrated when someone they care about begins to make strange demands, or stops doing things he once enjoyed and didn't seem to consider twice.
OCD symptoms can begin gradually or seem to come on “all of a sudden.” Young adulthood is a common time for onset, although children and elderly persons can develop the disorder, too. (Especially in the latter case, this is often the result of an illness.)
The happy news about OCD is that it tends to respond remarkably well to treatment, both cognitive and medical (assuming you get the right kinds of both, or either). While it doesn't go away completely, it can definitely recede enough to allow you to live a productive and happy life. It is, in short, nothing to worry about.