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Not All Neat People Have OCD: A Look At Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Not All Neat People Have OCD: A Look At Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


The term OCD is used loosely these days to refer to people who are particularly attentive to detail or simply very neat. A person who likes cleanliness, and proper arrangements and, is picky about several likes and dislikes is automatically referred to by a number of people- as an OCD sufferer. However, this is inaccurate as OCD isn’t just behaviorally indicative, it’s a mental illness.

What is OCD?

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that deals with a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) which make an individual perform repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions impede daily activities, thereby leading to increased anxiety and distress.

In the 2004 biopic, The Aviator, millionaire Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) struggles with OCD. The story shows his success despite the illness and it’s an educational as well as interesting watch. Howard’s OCD turns him into a germaphobe (someone with extreme fear of germs and obsession with cleanliness), but the illness itself displays varying types of compulsions. This goes to show that although a person may have OCD, their compulsions can vary greatly from time to time. It also shows that overly cleanliness isn’t the only determining factor when it comes to OCD.

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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While it’s not advisable to self-diagnose, there are some symptoms to look out for before going to visit a medical practitioner. Some of which are: irrational fear of dirt, germs and even personal safety. Many of the patients wash their hands so frequently, it becomes chapped. They also find themselves cleaning and rearranging surfaces and the environment frequently as well as checking and rechecking if doors and windows are locked. If this seems like something you do (which you don’t seem to have control over), pay your doctor a visit.

In addition, these compulsions create doubt in the minds of OCD sufferers and they may find it hard to trust people. Another symptom is the irrational quest for perfection as patients sometimes find it difficult to leave a project even after it is completed. In very extreme cases, thoughts patterns are could become perverse, which in turn affects their actions.

Causes of OCD

There’s speculation that the disease could be a genetic disorder. Research has proven that there’s a higher chance to contract the illness if a family member has had it. Some behaviors in OCD can also be learned by watching other family members and gradually picking up those traits over time. Finally, OCD can accompany other mental disorders like Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.


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At the moment, there is no known cure for the illness. Sadly, it’s a disorder the patient will carry through his or her life. However, counseling has proven effective in managing the condition. In addition to that, the use of antidepressants as prescribed by a professional has been reported to help too.

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