Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is when people feel the compulsive need to do certain actions. It features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears which can lead to repetitive behaviours. These can lead to obsessions and compulsions that can interfere with the person’s daily activities and cause huge levels of stress. It is a common disorder that affects around 2 per cent of the world’s population, with nearly half of them being undiagnosed.
. While OCD may begin in your teenage or younger years, it can also affect a child. Those suffering from OCD have compulsive behaviour that is neither easy to stop nor easy to ignore. It is one of the most frequently misunderstood mental disorders with several myths and misconceptions around it.
While there is still a lot that scientists don’t know about this disorder, we bust down some common myths about OCD.
Myth: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects mentally “weak” people.
A psychiatric disorder such as OCD is never the patient’s fault. OCD is neither a sign of mental weakness nor does one get OCD because one was “weak”. Psychiatric disorders aren’t any different from physical disorders such as diabetes and high BP. In fact factors such as genes, family history and circumstances play a big role in the chances of individual developing conditions like OCD.
Myth: OCD mainly affects Western countries
While many may think that OCD only happens in Western society, the truth is that most well-developed Western nations are just better equipped to spot the signs and correctly diagnose patients. However, due to OCD being probably caused by a variety of factors like genetics, brain abnormalities, and the environment, there are variations in the incidence rate of OCD across regions.
Myth: One can overcome OCD with ‘willpower’
While willpower may be an integral component, it cannot help someone overcome OCD on its own. It has to be paired along with suitable medication just like you would do for other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Willpower coupled with therapy and medication are essential components to overcome the condition.
Myth: OCD is neither curable nor treatable
We may not have a cure for obsessive-compulsive disorders yet there are effective treatments available. Like most other disorders, confirmation of the diagnosis is the first step. Medications of the antidepressant class are the first line of treatment. Medication usually requires 6-12 weeks to ease the symptoms. Psychotherapies such as exposure and response prevention as well as cognitive behavioural therapy are also employed in conjunction
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