Friday, March 22, 2013

5 facts to know about OCD

I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, as it’s commonly called. Some of my goals with this blog are to educate people about OCD and to be an advocate for others with OCD.
There are a lot of misconceptions about OCD in popular culture. I’m linking up with Nancy’s A Rural Journal again for Random 5 Friday. I thought I’d use my 5 random facts to go back to the basics about OCD.

1. OCD is an anxiety disorder. It is a mental illness. OCD causes intense, debilitating anxiety that can affect every aspect of a sufferer’s life.

For me, OCD changed the way I interacted with others, dictated what I did and did not do with my life, and caused me so much distress, I at one time contemplated suicide.

2. According to the website of the International OCD Foundation, 2 million to 3 million adults and about 500,000 children and teenagers in the United States have OCD.

I started having symptoms of OCD when I was a little girl. I was probably around 7 or 8 years old when I started my counting compulsions. I was around 11 or 12 years old when I started having symptoms of religious OCD and reading OCD. My symptoms were at their worst when I was in my mid-twenties, before I was diagnosed and started treatment at age 26.

3. OCD includes obsessions, or uncontrolled thoughts about specific things. The obsessions cause intense anxiety. Some obsessions that I’ve had center around harm to others, safety, religion, morality and contamination.

One example of an obsession that I suffered from for years was that I was completely responsible for the safety of my family.

Others with OCD may have different obsessions. For example, not everyone with OCD obsesses about contamination.

4. OCD also includes compulsions, which are actions taken to try to get rid of the anxiety caused by the obsessions. Some compulsions I’ve done include cleaning, checking, rereading texts, counting and praying.

For example, years ago, I compulsively prayed, believing that if I didn’t pray in a certain way and perfectly, harm would come to my family. I could spend hours praying the same prayer over and over, trying to get it “right.” I couldn’t define “right.” It only felt “right” when the anxiety receded for a while.

Compulsions may get rid of the anxiety, but it’s always temporary. The obsessions and anxiety come back. So OCD sufferers repeat the compulsions over and over and over, trying to rid themselves of the anxiety.

5. OCD is treatable. Medication and therapy can be very helpful to those suffering from OCD. Exposure and response prevention therapy is especially helpful.

I take medication and also do ERP, and I have come so far since the days when OCD controlled most of my life.

It’s important for people suffering from OCD to get treatment. Help is available, and sufferers can get better. I am living proof of that.

A good source for information about OCD is the International OCD Foundation.

If you’d like to share your own Random 5, link up with Nancy’s blog.



Is there a subject that you’d like the public to know more about, or that you believe is not treated fairly in popular culture?

46 comments:

  1. I am so sorry ! Also so glad that there is some medicine to help with this now !

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    1. Thank you, Debra. Yes, medication has helped a lot. So has therapy. The combination has been very good for me. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  2. i have been thinking about OCD lately - why? because i have been cooking & baking a lot needing to washing my hands to keep them extra clean & they begin to hurt even though i put lotion & take extra care. heard stories or movies about folks washing their hands a lot. i feel such compassion & i hope you find peace & comfort from your treatment. ( :

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    1. Thank you, Beth. I have been helped tremendously by treatment and am much, much better than I used to be. I used to wash my hands excessively for OCD reasons, and they got very red and stayed that way for a long time. But many people with OCD don't have washing compulsions. There are so many different kinds of obsessions and compulsions.

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  3. Oh you are helping many with your posts. Thank you from someone that has seen it all her life. B

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    1. Buttons, thank you for your kind words. I'm looking forward to reading your post today!

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  4. I definitely agree that there are a lot of misconceptions with OCD. I don't want to speak as an expert (I don't have OCD but my grad degree is in counseling psychology and we took an entire class on it). One of the things I took away from it is that people loosely throw around the term. You always hear people say "I am OCD this or OCD that" when in fact it's not true OCD. I love this blog because you speak of true OCD and you are so open and comminicative about it. I feel we have become friends on here during the past year and I love reading abotu your journey.

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    1. Keith, thank you so much, my friend. Your degree sounds so interesting! Yes, the words "I'm so OCD" get thrown around a lot. I think it's a matter of not understanding what OCD is. There are so many great blogs and writers out there who are helping to educate others about it. And I'm so glad I found your blog--it makes me think!

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  5. I applaud you for bringing this condition out into the light, Tina. A great post for those needing information or support.

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  6. I agree, Tina, that so many people throw around the term OCD like it's funny or as an example of someone's tidiness, etc. I'm so glad you talk about the real issues and how it has impacted your life. The same can be said for Asperger's (my son is an Aspie) and bipolar disorder or panic attacks.
    Only the true sufferers of these illnesses understand what it feels like to live with these challenges. I'm so glad you shared!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. Yes, there's a lot of misunderstanding and stigma attached to conditions like bipolar, panic and Asperger's. I hope that even if it happens in small doses at a time, knowledge and understanding about conditions like this will grow. Understanding and respect are so important.

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  7. EXCELLENT EXCELLENT POST!

    How are you doing with your foot? I've been thinking of you and praying for you.

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. My foot is doing OK. It doesn't hurt as much as it did, so I hope it's healing. I go back to the orthopedic doc on Monday to get x-rays and see if there's new bone growth. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

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  8. These are great points that everyone should know. Glad you shared them!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa, for your support and understanding.

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I hear the more you talk about it that it is therapy in itself.

    Hugs~

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I think it does help me to talk (or write) about it. It helps me sort out my thoughts and opinions and feelings.

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  10. Thank you for this excellent post.
    AND - Thank you for deciding to stay here - you are a blessing to the world. Thank you for this five.
    love & love to you.
    -g-

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment! I appreciate it. I enjoyed your 5, too!

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  11. Nice and concise description of OCD Tina. I know the symptoms can vary from person to person but it just amazes me even to this very day, how people with OCD share such common anomalies. There was a time when I thought I was the only person in the world doing the counting thing and I was so embarrassed and then to find out that it was very common for people with OCD to do that just floored me. In a way it is reassuring, though I always hesitate to say that because I certainly don't want anyone else to have to suffer with this.

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    1. Thank you, Krystal Lynn. I know what you mean. It still amazes me, too, to find out that others have experienced the same obsessions/compulsions that I thought only I had experienced. I don't want others to be suffering, either, but it is comforting to know we're not alone!

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  12. Interesting facts. Thanks for sharing and educating.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy, for stopping by and commenting.

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  13. How refreshing to read the truth about OCD. It just seems that misinformation about the disorder is more prevalent than ever....thanks for telling it like it is!

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    1. Thanks, Janet. Right back at you for writing such educational and informative posts yourself and for being such a strong advocate for getting correct info about OCD out there.

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  14. Hi Tina, I think you are a great advocate for OCD sufferers...and for people who are uninformed about this mental illness. I have learned much here thanks to your post. Thank you!

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    1. Linda, thank you for reading and being so supportive. I appreciate it!

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  15. This is a much worse disorder than I had imagined, and I am so glad to be educated about it. Thank you for sharing! I hope you have relief from many of the compulsions now!

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    1. Thank you, Marie. I am doing much better and have a lot of tools to help me fight the OCD. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  16. So amazing how you openly have shared your disorder with all of us! You've enlightened me with your knowledge.
    You are an awesome advocate for OCD - keep it up!

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    1. Thank you, Patti. I appreciate your kind comment.

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  17. This is such a wonderful post Tina with such important information. It will help many people seek the help they need but haven't known how to ask for. Thank you so much for sharing. And i'm glad you've found some treatment that helps you. I empathize. I have anxiety disorder but not OCD. Mine has been called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Debilitating panic attacks over triggers i cannot figure out. But i take medication, and my condition has greatly improved..

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    1. Mary, thank you. I'm sorry you suffer from GAD. I have that, also, and it's difficult to have anxiety and not know the cause, isn't it? I'm glad the medication has helped you.

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  18. 5 for Tina: educator, feeler, brave woman, hard worker, friend...

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    1. Jodi, you are so sweet and supportive. Thank you!

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  19. Excellent post - my husband works with Developmentally and Emotionally Delayed Adults. I had him read this and he said it was excellent information and very helpful. We are both glad you had a diagnoses and were able to get good results from the treatment. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, JoAnn. I have gotten good results from treatment. It's so important for people with symptoms of OCD to get diagnosed and treated, because it can make such a positive difference.

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  20. Great post, Tina! Concise and accurate and a great snapshot of living with OCD.

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    1. Thanks, Sunny. And thank you for all you do to give an accurate portrayal of living with OCD.

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  21. A very educational, helpful and hopeful Random 5 Tina. Others will find help and hope here. I have GAD and find that practicing mindfulness helps greatly. Humor helps me too.. :)

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    1. Thank you very much. Learning about and practicing mindfulness has helped me also. And enjoying humor helps in many cases.

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  22. a good post, lots of information on ocd!!

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Debbie.

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  23. Great post. A good place for friends and family members to get a concise overview of what this disorder means.

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    1. Thank you, Kahra. I hope it will be helpful.

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