OCD Awareness Week 2022
The second week in October marks the annual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Awareness Week. In an effort to raise awareness about OCD, I want to present some common myths about OCD, as well as the facts about this disorder.
Myth: We’re all “a little OCD.” Fact: OCD is a diagnosable and sometimes debilitating disorder. It’s not a personality quirk or a temporary state of being. People with OCD experience obsessions and compulsions in their everyday lives, which can often result in difficulty with work, social relationships and day-to-day functioning. Think twice before you minimize this experience by calling yourself or someone else “so OCD.”
Myth: OCD cannot be treated or cured. It’s a life sentence. Fact: Exposure-response prevention (ERP) is an evidence-based, highly effective form of treatment. According to research, about 70% of people experience a reduction in symptoms after engaging in ERP. Paired with medication and a form of treatment called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), ERP can help people reclaim their lives from OCD. Myth: Having OCD means that you like to keep things neat and tidy. Fact: OCD manifests in many different ways. There are a variety of themes that OCD commonly takes, and I often notice that people get stuck on a theme that directly challenges their values or their sense of who they are. Sometimes people experience the theme of their OCD changing over time, but all themes of OCD are treatable with the gold-standard of OCD treatment, ERP. If you want to learn more about OCD, you can visit the International OCD Foundation website, where you’ll find resources and support for OCD. NOCD is an online platform that also offers information, resources, and support for OCD.
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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