The Common Misconceptions About OCD

I’m sure you will have heard the acronym ‘OCD’ thrown around as an adjective for someone who is a perfectionist or that likes to keep their house very neat and clean.

You may have heard a friend or colleague saying something along the lines of ‘My girlfriend is so OCD when it comes to cleaning the house’. You may have even used the term in this way yourself.

OCD is one of the most misunderstood mental health conditions and the process of diagnosis and finding the right treatment for an individual can be a lengthy one.

Here, we address some of the most common myths about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Myth 1: OCD is all about cleanliness

OCD is so much more than being clean and organised - common obsessions that affect people with OCD include:

  • Fear of causing or failing to prevent harm – worrying you’ve already harmed someone or that you’re going to harm someone
  • Intrusive thoughts, images and impulses
  • Fear of contamination by disease, infection or an unpleasant substance
  • Fears and worries related to possessions being in a particular order – for example, you may feel the need to ensure all product labels in your kitchen cupboard are facing the same way

Those that have OCD, might experience one or more of these types of obsessions as they are often linked.

Myth 2: If you’re a neat and tidy person, you have OCD
A common symptom of OCD is having an obsession with cleanliness – behaviours include excessive house cleaning or washing your hands constantly throughout the day. However, having a complex about cleanliness can also be a personality trait. A personality trait is something that you have control of – you can choose whether to do it or not. For someone with OCD, not carrying out a certain behaviour will cause anxiety that can be debilitating.

 Myth 3: Only women have OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a part of daily life for over 750,000 people in the UK. As many as 12 in every 1,000 are affected by OCD, from children to adults, regardless of their gender, social or cultural background. Signs of OCD can start at any age but are typically noticed from early adolescence to early adulthood.

Women are more commonly diagnosed with OCD, however, it is believed that this is only due to women feeling more comfortable than men when talking about their feelings and emotions.

 Myth 4: OCD can’t be treated

The symptoms of OCD can be controlled with the right treatment. The recommended treatment will depend on how much the condition is affecting your life.

The two main treatments are psychological therapy and medication – the length of the course will depend on how mild or severe the condition is.

The most common psychological therapy methods used for treating OCD are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

When medication is needed, antidepressants are usually recommended to help balance of levels of Serotonin in the brain.

For more information about OCD and the treatments available, visit the following links:

To book an initial consultation with Dr Nathan Anthony, please call 0207 299 0375, or fill in our online appointment request form.