Like other mental illnesses, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is highly misunderstood within the culture. Many people believe that the disorder is just behaviors, such as persistent organization, washing one’s hands all the time, or checking the lock on the door constantly. But, what people do not realize is that OCD is a lot more than just these behavioral actions.
The misconceptions overlook one prevalent aspect of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. David Adam, reporter at Nature and author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, explains that OCD begins with an obsession, which is usually a disturbing thought that will not stop, and a compulsion is usually a repetitive behavior in response to the thought. Once someone acts on this thought, they increase the likelihood that the thought will return which creates a cycle. Adam explains that this cycle is what defines the obsession and compulsion as a disorder because it has the ability to to affect the person’s quality of life. This cycle often makes the disorder debilitating for those who suffer from it.
Despite the severity of the disorder, it is undermined in society because its understanding is manifested through jokes. The ideas and depictions of OCD presented by these jokes has much larger consequences than many people realize. Adam explains that these expressions of the disorder can be harmful to those actually suffering from OCD because they are not able to recognize the symptoms.
- David Adam, reporter at Nature and author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought