Living With OCD

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Living with OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (better known as OCD or, to some misinformed people “I like things to be neat” disorder) is a widely misunderstood mental health issue. Millions of people around the world suffer from OCD and my other half happens to be one of these people.

When we first got together, his OCD was minor. He would do certain things a few times over which I always found to be odd but assumed this was part of his character. It wasn’t until our relationship progressed and we started to spend more time with each other that I realised these things weren’t just “quirks” of his. He had to do all of these things, they weren’t a choice or something he did to be a bit flamboyant; they were a necessity.

Our relationship has continued past the 2-year mark and his OCD has gradually gotten worse over time. In the last few months, he’s added more things to his routine and has also roped me into reassuring him. If we set a time to go out at, we’ll never make it as he has to carry out his routine. If it’s freezing cold outside and I’ve forgotten my keys, I’ll have to shiver by the door as he has checks to carry out before he can walk away from his car.

Despite the worsening of his condition, my other half has refrained from seeking help due to the stigma attached to OCD. The general opinion of OCD is that people with the condition like things to be a bit clean. You’ll often hear someone exclaiming they have OCD because they like things to be organised and those statements alone only assist further in how much the condition is ostracised. Seeking treatment may be incredibly beneficial but my other half is fully aware that he does not have the support of people he really needs it from, in fact, those people will be the first to brush off his condition as him just wasting time.

Despite his unwillingness to currently seek help, 75% of people who have sought treatment and have been provided with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been helped in some way. CBT is the most effective way of dealing with OCD but less than 10% of people living with the condition receive the correct treatment. The recovery rates of people who aren’t receiving appropriate treatment are practically non-existent.

OCD affects approximately 1.2% of the population of the United Kingdom and it is ranked in the top 10 of the most disabling conditions by the Word Health Organisation. It’s also the fourth most prevalent psychological disorder. The causes of OCD remain unknown but it’s widely suspected that it is a hereditary condition or is a result of the sufferer having too much serotonin in their brain. When it comes to my other half’s OCD, he’s in an interesting area as his may be inherited or it may be a result of a neurological illness (that's a whole other post in itself) he was diagnosed with in December 2014.

Whatever the cause of OCD is, it’s safe to say it’s a lot more serious than a flippant remark someone makes about liking tidiness. It’s a genuine mental illness that seems to be brushed under the carpet far too often. I don’t know what causes people to randomly say they have OCD because they like things to be a certain way but I do know they need to stop. For as long as we continue to treat OCD and every other mental illness as a joke, the stigma will remain firmly in place and people like my other half will refuse to seek treatment. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live in a world where people who genuinely need help can receive it without being made to feel insignificant.

For more information on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy please visit mind.org.uk
For more information on OCD please visit OCD-UK

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