OCD or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a common mental health disorder, but not a lot of people understand what it is, or even what it stands for. Many people only associate OCD with hand-washing or being overly organized, but this often isn’t the case. This can lead to a lot of confusion and stigma surrounding OCD, which can add to the already debilitating effects of this mental illness. Mental health awareness is an important topic that is, fortunately, becoming more and more acceptable to talk about.
So, what is obsessive-compulsive disorder and how does it affect those who have it?
How Can OCD Affect You Physically?
OCD involves disturbing and distressing thoughts and images intruding into a person’s brain that cause them a lot of anxiety and, as a result, compel them to complete certain specific compulsions to ‘overcome’ those thoughts. This can end up having some pretty frustrating physical consequences. The anxiety generated by constant intrusive thoughts can leave sufferers with raised blood pressure and cortisol levels, as well as other issues surrounding difficulty losing or gaining weight. Not only that but the compulsions that OCD sufferers feel they must complete often manifest in ways that damage the body, sometimes even going as far as self-harm.
The best way to try and deal with the physical effects of OCD is to treat the OCD itself, but this can take some time. Many people find that regular exercise and eating well can greatly improve the physical and emotional effects of OCD.
How Can OCD Affect You Emotionally?
OCD is a very difficult mental illness to deal with emotionally. It can leave the sufferer feeling sad and anxious. Many people with the disorder worry that they are going insane and this only adds to the general distress caused by this illness. Many of those that struggle with OCD can develop anxiety and depression as a result of their issues, which can quickly become dangerous and, as a result, it’s important for OCD sufferers to seek help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. Websites like mind.org have many resources available to help those struggling with this illness and many sufferers find that daily meditation using sites such as Headspace can greatly improve their mental health.
How Can OCD Affect You Financially?
OCD can affect your finances in many ways. As with most mental illnesses, OCD can make it difficult to maintain a job or to keep track of your finances and spend appropriately. The stigma surrounding mental illnesses also makes maintaining your finances difficult as many employers don’t view mental illness in the same way that they would view a physical illness, and may treat you differently accordingly. The nature of many mental illnesses, including OCD, is that they are long-lasting and often come and go, getting better or worse for periods of time, which can make holding down a steady job difficult.
However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t resources available for OCD sufferers who are struggling with finances. The government offers personal independence payments (PIP) to those who are very limited by their mental illness. PIP is simply money given to sufferers of an illness, mental or physical, who struggle to complete activities in their everyday life.
For those that are not eligible to apply for money from the government, there are still charities that can offer a lot of help and resources online. Many sufferers find that learning how to build up a good amount of savings every month can really help ease their financial worries and provide a cushion of money to use if ever something bad happens. You can do this using the online savings calculator from Mental Health and Money Advice.
How Can OCD Affect Your Place In Society?
Many sufferers of OCD feel a lot of stigma surrounding their illness, especially young people. Charities like mind and OCDaction are working to break down the mental health stigma, but it’s a slow process and many people with mental health conditions still feel worried about opening up to friends or co-workers about their struggles. Many people who haven’t struggled with mental illness themselves don’t appreciate OCD as being the very serious illness that it is and can sometimes make light of it, or poke fun at those with OCD without realizing the consequences of their actions. Many OCD sufferers find OCD support groups, online forums, and therapy helpful for dealing with their emotions surrounding OCD, as well as meeting others who can relate to them.
How Can OCD Affect Your Relationships?
OCD can sometimes be an all-consuming mental illness, and this can have a knock-on effect on the relationships that a person with OCD has. While it can put a strain on relationships, many people with OCD do have and maintain lots of healthy relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners, so it’s not a challenge that can’t be overcome. Many people with OCD find that actively working to treat their illness and involving their friends and family in that is the key to keeping everyone happy.
Talk to me in the comments, please:
Do you have any other bits of wisdom to add to this?