If you have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), you’re probably tired of hearing people talk as if they have OCD over perfectly ordinary quirks of their own. In reality, OCD is a condition that varies widely among patients and even for one patient over the course of their life.
As a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Ifeanyi Olele of Genesis Psychiatric Solutions provides care for patients challenged by OCD, offering talk therapy and medications as well as compassionate support and education.
The more you understand OCD, the better you can push back against misrepresentations of the disorder. Here, we debunk five myths about OCD.
OCD is rare
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is fairly common, affecting 2-3 out of every 100 American adults. For at least 1 out of 100, OCD symptoms are severe enough to disrupt or derail their lives.
People with the most severe forms of OCD may find themselves struggling to complete daily tasks like self care, working, or studying.
Only adults develop OCD
TV shows make it look like only odd or quirky adults suffer from OCD. But OCD symptoms almost always start before the age of 25. In most cases, OCD is diagnosed by the time a patient reaches 19 years old, although the diagnosis is still possible after the age of 35.
OCD is the result of childhood sexual abuse
Medical researchers are not certain what causes OCD, but there seems to be a familial link, usually in the form of an immediate relative like a parent or sibling who was diagnosed with the disorder as a child.
While OCD depressive symptoms are often more pronounced in patients who suffered childhood trauma, there’s no causal link.
Only men develop OCD
Again, TV is mostly to blame here, by portraying mostly men with OCD. It’s become evident that men and women both have OCD in equal numbers, but their gender may affect how they express it.
Women are often diagnosed later, usually in their 20s, have an eating disorder and/or impulse control issues as part of their OCD symptoms, and express the disorder through manic cleaning and worries about contamination.
Men are more likely to be diagnosed when they are children and express many more facial and hand gesture tics. Men with OCD are also more likely to be aggressive, display sexual-religious mania, and suffer from substance abuse.
OCD is curable
OCD cannot be cured but it can be treated and managed. Dr. Olele will consult with you and help create a plan to reduce your symptoms so you can lead a happy life despite an OCD diagnosis.
Contact us today at one of our three locations — Fairfax, or Alexandria, Virginia, or Washington, DC — to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Olele. We also offer telepsychiatry appointments.