OCD Awareness Week is an international effort that takes place every year with the objective of raising awareness and understanding about obsessive compulsive disorder and related disorders. It also seeks to help more people get timely access to appropriate and effective treatment. This year, OCD Awareness Week will take place on 13-19 October 2019. Various programs and events are already planned by affiliates and members of various OCD organisarions and the OCD Community.
Started by the International OCD Foundation in 2009, OCD Awareness Week is now celebrated by a number of organizations across Australia and other countries all over the world. Some of the events include OCD screening days, lectures, conferences, fundraisers, online Q&As, and more.
One way you can participate is by helping educate other people about the condition. You can do this by using your phone or camera to create a short video of yourself and giving your answer to the question "What do you want to let people know about OCD?" You can then share what your video through your social media accounts. Or you can also share a photo of yourself holding a #OCDweek sign.
What is OCD?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder affecting people of all ages and walks of life. It occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. While compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.
It is true that most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have "some OCD". A diagnosis for obsessive compulsive disorder can be made when this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.
Here are some of the most common obsessions in OCD:
- Contamination - Body fluids like urine and feces, germs/disease like herpes and HIV, environmental contaminants like asbestos and radiation, household chemicals like cleaners and solvents, and dirt.
- Losing Control - Fear of acting on an impulse to harm oneself
or others, fear of violent or horrific images in one’s mind, fear of blurting out obscenities or insults, and fear of stealing things.
- Harm - Fear of being responsible for something terrible happening like a fire or burglary and fear of harming others because of not being careful enough like dropping something on the ground that might cause someone to slip and hurt him/herself.
- Obsessions Related to Perfectionism - Concern about evenness or exactness, concern with a need to know or remember, fear of losing or forgetting important information when throwing something out, inability to decide whether to keep or to discard things, and fear of losing things.
- Unwanted Sexual Thoughts - Forbidden or perverse sexual thoughts or images and sexual impulses about others, obsessions about homosexuality, sexual obsessions that involve children or incest, and obsessions about aggressive sexual behavior towards others.
- Religious Obsessions or Scrupulosity - Concern with offending God or concern about blasphemy and excessive concern with right/wrong or morality.
- Other Obsessions - Concern with getting a physical illness or disease like cancer, etc. and superstitious ideas about lucky/unlucky numbers certain colors.
And here are some of the most common compulsions in OCD:
- Washing and Cleaning - Washing hands excessively or in a certain way, excessive showering, bathing, tooth-brushing, grooming ,or toilet routines, cleaning household items or other objects excessively, doing other things to prevent or remove contact with contaminants.
- Checking - Checking that you did not/will not harm others, checking that you did not/will not harm yourself, checking that nothing terrible happened, checking that you did not make a mistake, checking some parts of your physical condition or body
- Repeating - Rereading or rewriting, repeating routine activities like going in or out doors, getting up or down from chairs, etc., repeating body movements like tapping, touching, blinking, etc., and repeating activities in "multiples" like doing a task three times because three is a "good", "right", or "safe" number.
- Mental Compulsions - Mental review of events to prevent harm (to oneself others, to prevent terrible consequences), praying to prevent harm (to oneself others, to prevent terrible consequences), counting while performing a task to end on a "good", "right", or "safe" number, and "cancelling" or "undoing" like replacing a "bad" word with a "good" word to cancel it out.
- Other Compulsions - Putting things in order or arranging things until it "feels right", telling asking or confessing to get reassurance, and avoiding situations that might trigger your obsessions.
For more information, visit iocdf.org.
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