Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By Zion Loo

OCD is so easily thrown around. We call ourselves OCD because we like being organized, or because we hate a messy room, or consider ourselves a general perfectionist; but real Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn’t just perfectionism. It’s a mental illness characterized by, of course, obsessions (unwanted visions or thoughts) and compulsions (habits or rituals) to an excessive extent. This is caused by his or her anxiety, such as making sure the door is locked precisely nine times every time they leave the house without fail, or washing his or her hands over and over in one session, or keeping everything in precise order, or even refraining from stepping on a crack when walking down a sidewalk. When battling with OCD, if you were to ever forget to follow these rules, it may feel like you would die.

The specific form of OCD can vary from person to person and have different paranoid focuses. For example, one could have a kind of OCD caused by constant fear of contamination, resulting in compulsions such as excessive hand washing, while someone else’s OCD is a result of paranoia that something is going wrong; always having to check, perhaps constantly driving by their house to make sure it is not in flames. While it is normal for anyone to double check things or to get a little paranoid from time to time, those with OCD are constantly riddled with this anxiety on a daily basis.

A person with OCD generally spends at least an hour a day on these compulsions and they can be significantly problematic in their daily life, especially if left untreated. Treatments include medication and/or psychotherapy. It is possible for mild OCD to be cured with or even without treatment, but in moderate or severe cases, even with treatment, this illness does not tend to be cured. Even so, treatment tends to succeed in relieving the victim of some of their symptoms.