5 Things I've learned about OCD this week - #OCDWeekOfAction

This year, the 20th until the 26th of February is the "OCD week of Action". #OCDWeekOfAction is the hashtag being used online, with a focus on advocating for people with OCD and it's associated disorders, creating discussions around the subject, and encouraging those who may suspect that they have OCD to get formally diagnosed or seek treatment. As a way of joining in the conversation, and passing it on to those of you who enjoy my blog, I thought I'd do a quick post sharing five things I've learned about OCD this week, simply through researching online.

  • OCD is considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010, the definition of a disability in this context being:
"[having] a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities e.g. using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport etc."

As such, a person with OCD is under no obligation to disclose this information to their employer if they don't feel comfortable doing so, and when applying for employment there are only very specific circumstances in which an employer can ask about your diagnosis, or any other health related questions.
(Source: OCD Action)

  • It is estimated that 1-2 per cent of the UK population has OCD. That's roughly up to 130,0000 people in the UK alone. (Source: OCD Action)
  • OCD can be treated with the use of CBT. Cognitive behavioural therapists view OCD as what happens when a person misinterprets intrusive thoughts as a sign that danger will occur if they do not adhere to their compulsions, and if danger does occur if they do not adhere to these compulsions then it is somehow their own fault. It is an anxiety disorder, and as such this form of therapy tries to disprove those catastrophic ideas, alleviate the anxiety surrounding them, and works with people to find ways to better manage their anxious compulsions and ignore their intrusive thoughts. (Source: OCD Action)
  • It was believed at one point that a number of conditions were linked as part of a spectrum of Obsessive Compulsive disorders. These included:
        • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
        • Compulsive Skin Picking
        • Tourette Syndrome
        • Trichotillomania.
        • Hoarding
However, it is now felt that these are all different conditions in their own right, with their being a common factor in all of them: they all involve, to some degree, the presence of repetitive thoughts, behaviours or urges. Hoarding can often be a compulsion driven by OCD also, so the two are connected in that regard. (Source: OCDUK)

  • As to whether OCD is inherited or brought on by outside forces, the answer seems to be a resounding: both. OCD involves neurotransmitters behaving abnormally in specific areas of the brain, most importantly serotonin, dopamine, and glutamine. Studies have shown that people can be born with a genetic predisposition to OCD, but it can also be brought on by highly stressful or traumatic events. (Source: Brainphysics)

Jacqueline Atta-Hayford