OCD is not something that can be cured easily overnight neither can it be cured if the patients themselves really want to as perceived by some. Those who have experienced abuse during their childhood or some trauma increases the chances of getting OCD (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). OCD is a condition that may be contained through counselling and self help groups, which we will be covering in subsequent posts.
People with OCD suffer both mentally and physically. Mentally, they are constantly bombarded by recurring disturbing images that always leave them thinking things such as “Have I switched off the gas stove?” or “Have I locked the front door?” or “Are there still germs on my hands?” And because of that, it leads to them doing things like checking over and over whether the door is locked or whether the stove has been turned off or washing their hands repeatedly to make sure there is no more germs that can be residing on them. The cycle goes on repeatedly. And it stresses them out constantly. The risks of getting OCD can be increased by a person's environment. For example,having suffered from any mental or physical abuse during their childhood or other types of trauma.
The fight to deal with OCD is a constant battle. For no one chose to be born with OCD. As such, why are we always stigmatising those with OCD? Such social stigmatisation makes it harder for patients who have recovered or are still on the road to recovery to fit back into society. The social stigma is also something that prevents most people from seeking treatment, which can cause the worsening of their illness. Our views on people with OCD causes them to have to deal with a constant burden on their shoulders for they are unable to openly share about their issues and because of that, their recovery may be deterred or slowed down.
To most, it seems as though OCD only takes its toll on their victims. What most don’t realise is that it also affects the patients’ loved ones. There have been many extreme cases of OCD wrecking the lives’ of family members. One example would be how a patient, who also happened to be a hoarder, had habits of washing her hands 300 times and spending 5 hours on washing her hair 25 times a day. Her compulsive habits led to her mother who was suffering from arthritis to have to use public toilets to do the laundry and shower and sleep outside on the steps for 3 months where she got wet whenever it rained. It caused her mother’s ailment to worsen. Furthermore, her mother was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and after being diagnosed with a heart attack, she was sent to a nursing home (Tai, 2016). The patient regrets the fact that her illness caused her to neglect her mother. This shows how much of an ordeal some family members of severe OCD patients have to go through.
Experiencing OCD is not a simple task for both patients and their loved ones, especially if one is dealing with severe OCD and does not seek treatment. How can our society help those who are suffering to recover? Let’s discover more in the next posts to come.