OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Grace Huang, Journalist, Editor

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is one of the most common – and most overlooked – mental illnesses. Like ADHD, some dismiss it, joking about OCD as a small obsession with perfection. Many aren’t aware that while OCD can range from being serious to having scarcely any effect on someone’s everyday life, it’s much more serious and definitely more real than they think.

While obsessive-compulsive disorder can take infinite forms and have a multitude of different symptoms, it can be roughly categorized into four different kinds: an obsession with symmetry and order, a fear of contamination, intrusive thoughts and ruminations, and compulsive hoarding.

OCD is most often associated with an obsession of symmetry and order, or perfection. Someone might feel a need to constantly adjust objects in their environment until it feels “right” and stops nagging at them. 

The fear of contamination can be directed both mentally and physically. Generally, it takes form as a worry about germs and diseases or thoughts about uncleanliness. For example, someone who suffers from this particular type of OCD might compulsively wash their hands or persistently try to maintain clean surroundings. They might also practice cleaning rituals as if to wash anything unclean from their minds and body. 

Intrusive or forbidden thoughts are a type of OCD that can greatly affect someone’s mental state. It’s similar to “racing” thoughts, which someone suffering from insomnia might experience. In addition to occasional nonstop floods of thoughts, intrusive thoughts typically include violent or sexual thoughts and the guilt of thinking them. One might obsess or religious blasphemy, sexual orientation, or a worry of harming others, and then compulsively obsess over whether these thoughts are wrong. It can cause severe mental afflictions.

Hoarding is a type of OCD that can be commonly confused with the “hoarding” disease. Someone that experiences a compulsion to keep and collect objects may not always like what they have, as opposed to someone that might suffer from the hoarding disorder. They most likely feel uncomfortable when parting with a specific object, and feel compelled to have multiple versions of the same object, even if they don’t need it. 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can seem rather harmless at first, but insomnia, anxiety, and even auditory and tactile hallucinations have been associated with severe cases. People have also died from OCD in some rare unfortunate instances. Understandably, it’s easy to overlook the risks and health repercussions of someone who might suffer from OCD, but it can have a great impact on many people’s lives.


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