I had always been known to be an anxious child. My adolescence was filled with therapy visits, new medications, and a constant stomach ache. Throughout the entire fourth grade, I was probably at home more than I was at school. I worried about average kid things; my little sister, elementary school, my parents. I also worried about some not so average little kid things; like if someone poisoned my toothbrush, someone would get sick at school tomorrow, or even my grandmother always feeding me so I would get fat and she would eat me. No matter what is was, I constantly would fixate on it and do things to avoid it. It wouldn’t be until I was about 14 where I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is “an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent obsessions or compulsions or both that cause significant distress, are time-consuming or interfere with normal daily functioning, and are recognized by the individual affected as excessive or unreasonable”. For many years, professionals classified OCD as a rare disease because so few claimed to have it. Many felt shamed about there reoccurring thoughts and behaviors and failed to reach out for help. The lack of people coming forward caused a misunderstand to how many people actually had the illness. Today, about 2.3% of the population between 18-54 suffer from OCD. That’s about 3.3 million adults and 1 out of every 100 children that have also been diagnosed as Obsessive Compulsive.
OCD has two kinds of symptoms. First, there are the obsessions, this is the mental aspect of OCD. A few signs of this can consist of constant and irrational fear, worried impulses and thoughts may cause hurt to oneself or others, feeling an overwhelming responsibility for the safety of others, ext. Some people have what is known as pure O, which is just all obsessions without the impulses. Some physical symptoms, or better known as impulses, can be lining things up a certain way, counting or doing things a certain number of times, or even having to perform the same action over and over until you actually get it “right”.
What are some early signs of OCD?
What part of the brain causes OCD?
What are intrusive thoughts?