OCD…no joke

I am certainly one to make a joke claiming I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and need to have everything perfect. This behavior however was much more inappropriate than I realized until I decided to research OCD, a topic I THOUGHT, I understood. OCD is in fact a real disorder that people struggle with. Recent media attention has been working to fight the humorous way OCD is regarded in order help raise awareness about what is in fact a serious mental illness. My attention was brought to this topic when just this week, celebrity and my favorite actress Amanda Seyfried revealed her struggle with OCD in an effort to inform the public about this commonly brushed-aside disorder.

What is OCD?

 The International OCD Foundation describes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a mental illness where a person receives unwanted thoughts and feelings over imperfections and then is compulsed to address them to relieve their meimgresntal state. An obsession can be a fear of dirt and then a person will then feel compulsed to wash themselves repeatedly. Someone who has a fear of making a mistake may feel forced to continuously check their work.

OCD: Nature or Nurture?

OCD was known before its mechanism or its “why.” It originally was believed that low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin was the reason behind the disease. WebMD reports that now, OCD has been discovered to have both a biological and environmental origin. Scientists have found that the mental disease may be due to damage of pathways between judgment and planning sections and the areas that control physical movements.

Harvard Health Publications also reported that getting strep throat could lead to OCD in young children. The antibodies of the infection enter the brain and invades the basal ganglia emotion and motor movements.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can also be triggered by a person’s environment. WebMD explains how abuse, death of a loved one, and school problems can result in OCD behaviors.

How is OCD diagnosed?

OCD can be diagnosed with several steps. A physical exam is necessary to eliminate any other reasons for OCD symptoms. Next, a psychological evaluation is completed where a therapist refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The Mayo Clinic however, expimgres-1lains that it is difficult to diagnose OCD because its symptoms are similar to other mental diseases such as anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

Takeaway Message:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder does not simply mean you need to have a clean room. Those struggling with the disease feel that they have no control of their own thoughts and that they must respond to these unwanted thoughts. It is something that Approximately 3.3 million people in the United States alone struggle with according to UOCD. This research serves as a reminder that Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a serious illness that should not be joked about.


6 thoughts on “OCD…no joke

  1. Julia Rose Gallelli


    I think your topic is a great one to share with our class. People often joke about having OCD when they really don’t have it or know just how difficult it really is to live with. I am guilty of always wanting things to be perfect and often making remarks about having OCD because of that. But I don’t do that anymore. After taking a psychology course my freshman year and learning extensively just how damaging OCD can be to a person’s life, I immediately corrected my behavior.

    While OCD can range from mild to severe, I learned about several severe cases that involved people washing their hands so much that there skin would peal and bleed. I read about cases where people would be so afraid of germs that they had to always walk around with gloves on and never open the mail because of the germs from all of the people who touched it. I read about people who thought their loved ones would die if they didn’t remember to turn their kitchen lights off. I read about these cases and many more that showed me how OCD controls people’s lives to the point where they can’t even leave their homes. Depression sets in from realizing how different from everyone else OCD makes you.

    Because of this, I learned to never claim that I have OCD again.

    For your interest, here is a paper on a case study conducted for OCD patients written by Dr. Katharina Henkelmann, psychiatrist at Clane Hospital. It discusses severe cases of OCD and the parts of the brain that contribute to the obsessive thoughts and the parts involved with compulsive behaviors.


  2. Marissa Dorros

    I like how your blog emphasizes that OCD is not something to joke about (especially since it was posted shortly after OCD awareness week!). Like other commenters, I too have previously researched obsessive compulsive disorder and I also know people affected by it, so I understand how important it is to correct people who claim that my dislike for stray pencil marks on my notes is “my OCD”, when really I just like to be neat. Many people don’t realize that the lives of people who have OCD are severely affected and it is difficult for them to get through the day without having obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. Here is a powerful video of a slam poem by Neil Hilborn, which gives those not affected by the mental illness a glimpse of what it is like for some people (though not all) who suffer from severe cases of OCD. Since you examined in your post what OCD is, some symptoms, and how it is diagnosed, I think it would also be beneficial if you included the available treatment. This includes a mix of medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves practicing fighting the thoughts and compulsions.

  3. tmv5147

    Great post, I think OCD is a real thing. My neighbor in Charlotte had a strong OCD addiction. Every on the street had very well kept lawns, clean cut grass, nice flowers, and landscaping. Over the last couple years I noticed that her yard really stood out compared to everyone else’s. Whenever it would rain she would be out there the day after doing yard work to make sure everything looked picture perfect. She would hand scrub her driveway and walkway every so often if there was a car that sat in the driveway for a period of time. Although this seemed out of the ordinary I knew what her condition was and nothing was going to hold her back from changing how she acted.

  4. dms6679

    I really liked that your post explains that OCD should be taken seriously as mental disorder. Many family members of mine suffer from OCD. It is often times extremely difficult to see them unable to cope in certain situations. I found this article the explains the disorder, and why it is so offensive when people joke about it, I found it very insightful as it compliments your post! https://www.theodysseyonline.com/why-ocd-real-disorder-not-joke

  5. Kameron Villavicencio

    I was really intrigued by this article because I feel like I hear a lot about OCD but never in a serious matter. It’s mostly in a joking manner. I’m also currently writing my CAS speeches on how the stigma surrounding mental illness needs to be broken and all mental health services at Penn State should be free. That’s why it’s important for celebrities to speak openly about their struggles and all people, so those who suffer do not feel alone. I wish this blog post was longer because I really wanted to know more, I specifically wanted to know more about her specific struggle, especially since OCD is very specific to each individual. Thanks for opening up the discussion, though!

  6. Sarah Tarczewski

    I feel like most people have a tendency to joke about things they don’t fully understand. I read your blog post because my boyfriend has OCD and ever since I discovered that I have tried to more deeply understand what he is going through. Although his is not severe in the least, he does experience a lot of unwanted, uncontrollable perfectionist sort of thoughts. I appreciate you discussing that mental illness is not laughing matter!

Leave a Reply