Have you ever been caught color coding your closet and claimed to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Perhaps what you claim to be “OCD” is just a case of neatness.
While keeping all clothes sorted by color may seem strange to some, this behavior is not unusual. And, it is far removed from the true debilitating nature of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Alison Dotson, author of Being Me With OCD, points out that the illness isn’t quirky or cute. She believes using the term “OCD” correctly would help people begin to acknowledge its seriousness and complexity.
While it is true that some cases of OCD increase desires for neatness, the underlying mental aspect of OCD sets it apart from normal cleanliness. With OCD, there are obsessions (unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that repeat in a person’s mind) and compulsions (acts that a person repeats in order to “get rid” of these obsessions). Although there are no “cures” for OCD, there are ways to manage its symptoms. Many people with OCD are slow to seek treatment because OCD has become synonymous with words like “clean” or “organized”—qualities most would say are good.
So, next time you’re caught lining up the items on your desk and consider claiming you are OCD, think about the true nature of the disease and reconsider your choice of words. However, if you are suffering anxiety related to intrusive thoughts and feel compelled to complete certain behaviors, seek help.
Content for this segment was created by Collin Ritter as part of a project for SC301: Foundations of Health Communication, taught by Brooke Hildebrand-Clubbs.
N. Patel. (2016). Journal of Obsessive and Compulsive Related Disorders. Pgs 1-2.