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Open about OCD

When people think about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) a few things spring to mind: clean, neat, tidy and organised perhaps? Of course some of these traits accompany OCD but the disorder is so much more than that. Although those behaviors are often seen in a positive light, for someone with OCD they can be utterly debilitating.

From the 13th- 19th October it’s OCD Awareness Week, seven days of trying to help others understand what exactly OCD is and remove the stigma that surrounds it. The condition effects over three quarters of a million people in the UK. It isn’t just the individual that has to deal with the disorder so do their families and friends.

OCD is an anxiety-related condition that causes unwanted thoughts, sensations or ideas that drive a person to do something repetitively. The cause of OCD is not clear but there are several factors that could contribute to it’s development, some of these are:

  • A family member already having the disorder can mean another member of that family is more likely to develop the same or similar behaviours

  • Certain shattering life events and experiences such as losing a loved one or being bullied or neglected

  • Having a neat, meticulous or fastidious personality with a strong sense of responsibility or developing anxiety problems

The disorder does not tend to get better by itself. It’s very important that the right professional support is sought out to treat it and reduce the impact it has on a person’s life. Many people with OCD fear stigma at work, at home or in their relationships. They don’t want to be mistreated because of the label that can be attached to them because of their behaviours.

Living with OCD though, is not a life only filled with negatives. Several well-documented studies have found that with the increased brain activity associated with it leads to a ton of creativity. When the brain is aimed at the right task the person can produce exciting and innovative ideas at great speed. Another positive to take from the condition is the ability to have exceptional attention to detail, if something within a project feels ‘off’, the person will seek out the imperfections until they are fully resolved, creating a valuable asset to any company they are employed by.

Each person living with OCD is affected differently, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. People living with OCD need to be treated with compassion and dignity along with r