What OCD is not
OCD used to be a very little known mental disorder. Over time awareness of the disorder has grown, but so too has the frequency of using OCD to mean something that has little or no connection to the disorder.
Using OCD or the words obsessive and compulsive together incorrectly leads to furthering the misunderstanding surrounding the disorder. It trivializes and belittles the real suffering that goes along with the disorder.
Common these days are references, in speech, in text messages, on the World Wide Web and in social media platforms to people being a little OCD, a little bit OCD or a bit OCD. The sayings are meant to convey temporary fits of cleaning or organizing that is wrongly connected to OCD. These fits have nothing in common with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They rarely cause distress or anxiety, which is most common with the real OCD.
In addition, OCD is not:
- Associated with being obsessed with hockey, soccer, shopping or any other enjoyable pastime. OCD sufferers do not take enjoyment from their disorder.
- Linked to collecting, as in collecting memorabilia, stamps, coins or other items. Hoarding is a recognized subtype of OCD. Collectors like to show off their collections and talk about them, while hoarders are not proud of their collections, which are typified by the hoarding of basically useless items.
- Associated with an obsession, such as that exhibited by a crazed stalker. That’s a completely different kind of obsession.
- Linked to being a compulsive shopper, gambler or liar. Those are likely to be addiction problems and are linked to Impulse Control Disorders. These types of people may experience anxiety later on but there was no intrusive obsession that sparked the compulsive behavior.