Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects millions every year. Though people with OCD might seem silly or weird, people who suffer from it feel like a slave to their obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals. In order to break down the stigma, and myths surrounding, OCD here are some facts about the disorder you might not have known.
Obsessions and compulsives are different
Many people think that the obsession and compulsion part of OCD is the same thing. These two things are actually different, but link together to create a cycle. Obsessions are thoughts that can cause severe anxiety, while compulsions are actions taken to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. It creates a dangerous cycle that people with OCD find hard to break out of. For example, someone with OCD might have obsessive thoughts about getting sick and dying, so they compulsively wash their hands 20 times every hour.
People with OCD have insight
It can be hard with people with mental disorders to recognize the symptoms their experiencing. But with OCD, most people who have it have insight into their symptoms. They recognize the irrationality and excessiveness of their thoughts and actions. Having this insight is actually one of the most frustrating parts of this disorder, as people know what they’re doing isn’t rational yet they can’t stop it.
It affects men and women equally
When it comes to mental health issues, some effect men or women more. However, with OCD males and females experience the disorder at similar rates. The age at which someone develops OCD can depend on their gender though. Both females and males are equally as likely to develop OCD following puberty, but men are more likely to develop it during childhood than women.
OCD is cased by both nature and nurture
Doctors are constantly wondering what exactly causes mental health issues like OCD. So far they’ve found that both nature and nurture elements play a factor. Having a family member with OCD, especially if it was developed during childhood, increases ones risk of developing it so scientists know genetics play a role. There is also believed to be a relationship between OCD symptoms and irregularities in brain structure.
Traumatic events can also cause OCD. Experiences stressful or traumatic events can increase one’s risk. Events like sexual abuse, childhood abuse, or death of a loved one, are common catalysts for OCD to develop.
Symptoms start at a young age
OCD symptoms usually start during adolescence and early adulthood, but children as young as 4 can be affected. Typically, people are diagnosed around the age of 19. As we said, gender can impact at what age symptoms start appearing with more young boys developing it in childhood than young girls. Although rare, OCD can also being in late adulthood.