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Intro To Obsessions & Compulsives

By Arthur Buchanan

You can start by looking into Obsessions and what they mean and how they affect people. Read more about what Pure "O" means, how everyone has Violent and/or Sexual thoughts to a certain degree and so on...

Then look at how Compulsions work. Read more about why rituals are repeated, which actions might be repeated and so on...

Now that you understand those 2 elements of OCD, you can look at how they interact or counteract each other by looking at the OCD- Cycle.

Someone with OCD will often feel as if their obsession or ritual is different than those of others with OCD. However this isn't the case at all.

There are so many different types of OCD- Symptoms that although slight differences may occur, there most likely will be 1 you will be able to relate to. Hopefully this knowledge will lead to you feeling less alone.

OCD- Aspects got their own page, since although they are OCD- symptoms, they are also amongst the less known 1's. Most people have heard of people with OCD who wash, count or check, but there are a few aspects of OCD such as Hoarding and Hit- and- Run that could benefit from being given just that little extra attention.


What was once thought to be a rare mental disease is now known to be a more common 1. Approximately 2.3% of the population between ages 18- 54 suffers from OCD, which out ranks mental disorders such as: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or panic disorder.

In the U.S., approximately 3.3 million people have OCD, of which you have 0.3 to 1% of pediatric population and 2% of adult population.

So about 1 out of 200 adults have OCD and twice as many have had OCD at 1 point or another in their life.

There is no discrimination as to who has OCD, since it is found in all ethnic groups and both men and women are equally struck by the disorder, although in children OCD seems to be prevalent in boys.

Nearly 1/3 to 1/2 of all sufferers will find that their OCD has it's roots in childhood, some will even show signs in their pre-school years. Cases of OCD have been reported in children as young as 1.5, needless to say it's hard to make the diagnosis at such a young age (Lack of development of speech being 1 reason.). Around the age of 6 the linguistic abilities of the child make it easier to find out the existence of OCD, this co- relates with the age where most children show their first real signs of OCD.

In most cases however, symptoms will start to show while being a teenager or in early adulthood.

The age of onset is typically reported as 6 - 15 for males and 20 - 29 for females and is usually by the age of 40. Although many people suffer from OCD, many are also still hiding their symptoms and surveys estimate that less than 10 % of those suffering are currently in treatment.

The presence of any aggression or oppositional defiant disorder has been said to indicate a poorer prognosis.

Typically OCD and it's symptoms will worsen due to Stress, Illnesses and Fatigue.

Treating a child with OCD is very important and all delay will only cause the child more harm and more chance of it missing out on certain aspects of her/his development and life. Same goes for adults, the earlier professional help is sought the greater chances are that some real progress will be made. OCD is a disorder that can be difficult to treat, but you can get your life back if you find the right help and are open to what is being suggested to you.

The longer 1 waits to act upon it and look for help, the more the system finds a place in the person's life and the harder it will be to fight it.

OCD will evolve throughout a person's life. Some will experience moments where their OCD almost disappears or becomes milder. For these people the anticipation of knowing it will or might come back is very distressing. Others will see how the OCD takes over more and more of their lives and will eventually take over completely making it impossible for them to function normally in life/society, this of course if left untreated or when no serious effort is made to fight back. So treatment is crucial.

There have been successes that involve surgery, but this treatment is however left to those who previously were not responsive to other types of treatment that are known to work very well for people suffering from OCD.


There are 2 distinctive parts to OCD: the Obsessions and the Compulsions which is explained clearly by the name Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But it seems the clarity often stops there. While the medical world is finding out the why's and how's of OCD, there are also still many Misunderstandings. Even in this day and age of greater awareness concerning Mental Health problems, many people still aren't properly informed about the many mental disorders that exist and this leaves much room for assumptions and speculations. Both those who have OCD and those who are dealing with someone who has OCD may believe in such misunderstandings.

Misunderstandings concerning Possible Cause.

One of the first misunderstandings research has been able to take care of is the 1 where people assume that a neglecting or unbalanced upbringing was possibly at the basis of OCD behavior. With the use of PET- scans (Positron Emission Tomography) experts were able to find clear evidence that the brain of someone with OCD does function differently than that of a person without OCD.

With these finding a great deal of shame and guilt has been taken off the shoulders of the parents who felt they were directly to blame for their child's suffering. This is not to say that certain events in a person's upbringing/life may not have contributed to the onset of the OCD, just that OCD is now considered to be triggered by a biochemical disbalance in the brain.

Read more about the Possible Causes of OCD or on how the brain or Serotonin work.

General Misunderstandings Within Society.

By far one of the most painful misunderstandings for a person with OCD are the ones they encounter in their direct surrounding and society in general.

Who should be held responsible for informing the world about OCD? Partly the medical world and the media who should actively be trying to bring the facts to the public and partly the general public itself. But the public's fear of the unknown, their intolerance and lack of understanding, which still exist when it comes to mental disorders, make OCD yet another one surrounded by its share of misunderstandings.

This is why talking about the disorder is so helpful since it will actively and constructively add to the acceptance of a common yet misunderstood disorder.

However as someone who might have OCD you aren't free of part of the responsibility either. Stop feeling ashamed for having a disorder that isn't a weakness, but as true and real as having a Heart condition.

If you can't show acceptance and understanding to yourself, how can you expect others to do so? Start with yourself and lead by example.

Thinking That Having OCD Is a Character Flaw or an Excuse.

Some people might assume OCD is simply being used as an excuse for not having to do certain things, that character flaws such as laziness or weakness are what are really causing this behavior, but this is yet another misunderstanding. Just look into all the things the individual with OCD isn't able to do that would possible provide them with possible.

Besides, it is always easier to motivate yourself to do things you like doing. Having to deal with the counting (or the not counting) will seem more worthwhile with things that give a greater sense of satisfaction or pleasure. Motivation is the key, accusing and personal critisicsm aren't.

OCD may look like laziness or just another excuse but it is a true and debilitating disorder.

Thinking That Having OCD Equals Being Crazy.

Another misunderstanding occurs when people assume, including those with OCD, that having OCD equals someone who is crazy. So, is a person who has OCD crazy? Of course not! Someone with OCD has besides possibly strange looking rituals and disturbing obsessions also the capacity to see them as such. Maybe it is this conflict between the constant "urge" of OCD and common sense that makes people with OCD feel as if they are going crazy. The ability to see your own beliefs and actions as being unreasonable is extremely confusing but also a good sign to know you aren't crazy.

Unless we are talking about OCD with poor insight, people will at some point recognize that their obsessions are from their own mind and not excessive worries about real- life problems and that their rituals are also excessive and unreasonable. So the answer to "Is a person suffering from OCD crazy?" is very simple: NO.

Mistaking the Obsessions With Someone Who Is Obsessed.

A man once asked a woman with OCD whether she would start focusing on him and become obsessed by him. Of course not! Although the word Obsession is for some linked to characters portrayed by "Robert De Niro" in the movie "Cape Fear" or "Glenn Close" in "Fatal Attraction", this has nothing to do with someone who suffers from OCD.

People with OCD don't have their rituals and obsessions result in the harm of others. Actually, people with OCD are said to be "perfect citizens". Which brings us to another misunderstanding but this time 1 which works in "favor" of the person having OCD. Of course this is just a generalization since having OCD doesn't take away from the fact people with OCD are all still humans and therefore will have their obvious fair share of flaws.

But it does seem that most people with OCD have a greater sense of righteousness.

Maybe it's more the fact of being afraid of doing something wrong which is making them act in the most "acceptable" way. I won't start a debate on what can be considered right or wrong, if only for the fact that this is a monologue and the debate might become really 1- sided.)

The conclusion is that it's important to see this disorder in a larger context and more importantly only form an opinion after having at least read about it in a serious way.

About The Author
Listen to Arthur Buchanan on the Mike Litman Show!

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