Myths and Truths surrounding OCD

Posted on: October 12th, 2020

Myth 1: ‘Everyone is a bit OCD’

Truth: There are two parts to OCD:

Obsessions: Intrusive thoughts, pictures or urges.

Compulsions: These are the actions and behaviours in which sufferers might engage to help release the anxiety caused by the obsessions. There is a distinct difference between compulsive inclinations and obsessive-compulsive behaviours, the most important word being ‘obsessive’. If someone has OCD, their life will most likely be consumed with the obsessive thoughts and compulsions, which can interfere with work, school and/or their social life, leaving little time for anything else. OCD has certain criteria required to make a formal diagnosis. Those criteria differentiate a sufferer from someone who is, say, a bit more thorough than the norm about certain aspects of their life.

Myth 2: ‘Sufferers of OCD do not understand their behaviours are irrational’

Truth: Most OCD sufferers do know that the relationship between their obsessions and compulsions is irrational and the compulsions can be potentially harmful to themselves and others around them. However, it is hard for them to know when their brain is ‘lying’ to them whilst they are experiencing strong urges to obey its irrational commands.

Myth 3: ‘OCD is rare in children’

Truth: Childhood-onset OCD is quite common, occurring in approximately 1 per cent of all children. Furthermore, recent research has indicated that approximately half of all adults with OCD experienced symptoms of the disorder during their childhood.

Myth 4: ‘People with OCD worry about things non-sufferers do not’

Truth: Everybody experiences worrying thoughts about becoming ill or a loved one being harmed, or what would happen if…? How many times have you personally touched wood for good luck, or saluted a magpie? Whilst you may do this occasionally, with the thought passing on as soon as the action has finished, someone with OCD will get trapped in a cycle, believing they have not performed the action correctly and that they have failed to ward off bad things from happening. Whilst most of us have the same worries as a sufferer, non-sufferers are less sensitive to them and, in comparison, can generally quite easily brush them aside.

These myths and truth are an excerpt from the book, Hope with OCD, written by Lynn Crilly. Available from Amazon here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *