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Yes, obsessive compulsive disorder is a medical condition. And because it is so, it needs serious attention and should not be relegated as mere foolishness or considered as a sign of a person’s weakness. If somebody is suffering from OCD, help should be afforded him or her. This problem is not easy to deal with and we, as non-sufferers, should realize that it is not something that we can will away at the blink of an eye.
OCD is called such because, first, it is an obsession. Obsessions are ideas or thoughts that run through our minds repeatedly. Though we may be aware of their repetitive nature and decide that we do not want them around, we do not have the capacity to control and shelve them. There are some people who have OCD who experience ‘obsession’ once in a while. However, there are others whose obsessive feelings and thoughts are felt 24/7.
Second, OCD is a compulsion. By compulsion, we are referring to the acts or behaviors that people assume in order to get rid of the fear or anxiety over a certain obsession. More often than not, these compulsions are grounded on a set of personal predetermined rules, which must be followed with full accuracy and precision. A person who has OCD is very keen with detail, especially during an ‘attack’.
Identifying The Symptoms
The most popular obsessions include an unreasonable concern with symmetry and order, incessant worry about how a particular activity or job is carried out, the need for reassurance at all times, and the thinking of certain numbers or words all the time, among others. If you have seen the film “The Aviator”, you will notice that the main character, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, suffered from an extreme form of obsessive compulsive disorder.
The compulsions, also the called the rituals, that characterize obsessive compulsive disorder are done in an attempt to assuage the anxiety and fear felt over a certain obsession.
This is why some people like to count from one to ten three times out loud before doing a particular task, or why some feel that tossing a nickel three times before entering a building will bring safety and luck. These rituals do not necessarily work, but the person has this weird belief that they will and continue doing so without really knowing why it has to be that particular ritual.
These rituals, however, only bring temporary relief, and so a person who has OCD finds himself or herself repeating the same thing over and over again. The anxiety and fear have become so ingrained into him that he has trouble controlling it from happening. Some people find this silly. But it’s actually a rather serious matter.
In sum, the best way for us to determine what kind of help a person who has OCD needs is to gain a better level of understanding of the ailment, in order for us to identify the symptoms before they become full blown and more difficult to address. It is our duty as friends and loved ones of people who have OCD to help them overcome the problem.