Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is among the most debilitating of the anxiety disorders, and it rarely is the same from one person to the next. While it might be on the easier side in terms of a diagnosis, as often the common symptoms are identified quickly from a trained professional with a little bit of expertise in the field. However, with all that modern medicine knows and understands about this disorder, there is just as much misinformation that the general public has. The more bad information that exists out there, the worse people battling the disorder have to suffer without the appropriate treatments or therapy.
Myths About OCD
There are quite a few myths and fallacies about OCDs that you should be aware of. This article will introduce you to a few of the most common misconceptions or sources of misinformation about the condition. Hopefully you can leave from here better informed about what’s real and what isn’t for those that have to manage an OCD in their life.
#1. OCDS JUST FOCUS ON CLEANLINESS
There is a serious belief that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders tend to only really be related to keeping things clean. While this is certainly one variety of this increasingly common condition, this isn’t at all the primary focus of those that suffer from this condition.
In fact, this misinformation has gotten so bad that it is also believed that everyone that is very adamant about keeping things clean and specifically organized shares in some OCD. This is likely derived from people claiming that they have an OCD about something (as a punchline) or that they are “borderline OCD” about something else. This lighthearted look at this debilitating condition is not only likely highly offensive to those that are suffering through it every day, but it is also a jab at the kind of mental distress that someone who has this disorder is asked to constantly endure.
#2. MORE WOMEN HAVE OCDS THAN MEN
There has been a lot of research into the common people affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and the truth is that everyone can develop it just as readily as anyone else. It is unlikely anything more than a half sexist view that has perpetuated the idea that more women than men are likely to develop OCD in their lifetime.
While it has been established that this condition could affect anyone, the initial development of symptoms are not as widespread as those that could be affected. While it is not entirely uncommon that OCD symptoms could start earlier, the common age range that initial signs of the condition tend to present themselves is 10-12.
#3. OCD IS A RESULT OF A BAD CHILDHOOD
There are many people who believe that there are common threads in between PTSD and OCD. If not having experienced traumatic and life altering events, that a person just had a horrible upbringing which would then play a significant role in how their anxiety disorder would develop. This might be an underlying cause for something like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), but it does not hold water when it comes to finding the root of OCD for the sufferer.
It is believed that the horrible upbringing resulted in lower self-esteem and social anxiety. This condition makes a person more susceptible to developing OCD. This however, isn’t the case. While genetics connections are still being more closely examined to this day, it is unclear if genetics plays a role in immediate family members developing OCD.
#4. THERE ARE TESTS TO CONFIRM OCDS
Unlike many of the medical conditions that exist in the world, there is no blood test or scan that can determine whether someone is suffering from OCD or not. Trained medical professionals are able to take information that you can provide and develop a working theory as to whether or not you have the disorder. This isn’t at all some sort of definitive test, though your doctor is looking for an answer to three distinct questions.
- Do You Have Mental Obsessions?
- Do You Have A Compelled Behavior That Corresponds To That Obsession?
- Does This Obsession/Compulsion Affect Normal Life For You?
#5. OCDS ARE CAUSED BY STRESS
Some people are misguided by the belief that there are ways that a person with OCD can just turn off that part of their brain and relax for a little while. The trouble is, there isn’t a lot of restfulness for those that have this condition, as it is an ever present obsession in the brain and that is only removed or quelled by the compulsive activity that follows. Shortly thereafter (depending on the individual of course), the process will repeat itself. There isn’t turning off that portion of someone’s cognitive process.
Which makes it a bit unreasonable to consider that stress is somehow a driving factor in the presence of the obsession or the compulsion to satisfy it. Stress, as we know, is not at all good for anxiety disorders. It is not, however, the root cause or hidden solution to curing OCD for those that suffer from it.
#6. OCD IS MOSTLY IN ADULTS
As was earlier established, there is no rhyme or reason to who gets OCD and why they get it. Gender, age, race and background seem to have no bearing on the development of the disorder, and so it seems surprising then that people believe it is uncommon for a child to develop it. In fact statistics suggest that 1 in every 200 people under the age of 18 has a form of OCD. This condition could start as young as four years old.
Now that you have at least some of your facts straight, you can see just how many people and in what ways that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects the world. While scientists and doctors are learning more about this condition all the time, and the treatments are evolving in successful pathways, there is still currently a long way to go to find a cure or official course of universal treatment for everyone. It is through combatting the bad information about OCD out there that the real productive work can continue.