Every cloud has a silver lining and so no one would deny that coronavirus has introduced us all to this really good habit of washing hands repeatedly. But did you know there are people who tend to wash their hands for actually no reason at all!
No visible dirt but they keep washing their hands! Some do not want to touch books, papers, money with their hands due to the fear of getting dirty.
If they ever hold a torn, dirty note, they are going to wash their hands at least five to six times.
While some people can realize this level of cleanliness is nothing but an exaggeration, some simply cannot.
However, in both cases, they cannot refrain from it.
A lot of the time, while out of the house, all of a sudden some feel like they may have forgotten to lock the door!
No matter what they are up for outside, this thought is going to occupy them through the entire day!
In the middle of sleep, some wake up thinking that the gas stove might not have been extinguished properly.
Not a one-day event, they often think of it during sleep and get up in a hurry to go and check on it.
If they are carrying extra money in a bag or have borrowed it from someone, others are going to catch the sight of them counting it again and again.
Some follow the habit of arranging everything in the house in a specific order.
Caution! None are allowed to mess up with their tidy table, bed, kitchen stuff or furniture. If someone tilts the sofa cushion a little or pull their curtain to one side, they at once, are busy rearranging it. No offence if these remind you of your favourite "Friends" character, Monica!
All these symptoms indicate this one sole disease- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD); not all symptoms are the same in a person, neither can they be seen together. But none of this can be avoided like some other normal habit.
Most people would consider it as perhaps a minor mental disorder. Howsoever, as regards to the suffering, it is no less.
The patients may only have an obsession, there can be mere compulsion, further, the two can be seen together.
Obsessive thoughts, feelings, or emotions often come to mind and cause intense anxiety and stress. The affected person wants to suppress that feeling and starts doing the same thing over and over again.
In reality, the uncontrolled mind makes him do the work continually against his will. This is compulsion.
For example, the person would go through this anxiety that their hands are dirty (obsession) which eventually makes them frequently wash their hands (compulsion).
Obsession can be seen from person to person in different ways. Some are concerned with cleanliness, some freak out worrying about dangers, some with tidying up, and a few mix up with religious rituals!
In the prayers, the surahs are mistakenly repeated or the ablution is not remembered. Later it may turn out in a way that unusual thoughts about religion or sexuality keep popping up in the person's head.
They know the matter is baseless, yet just cannot remove it from the mind.
OCD results in the formation of a stereotype, which in the long run becomes a compulsive habit.
Some OCD patients suffer from severe depression. Suspicion may arise towards the people close to them, various ominous thoughts come along.
With time, the family life of many become miserable. OCD hurts people so much that they may want to commit suicide at a severe point.
Children are not exempt from OCD either. In fact, the problem is more frightening in the case of children as they do not understand what has actually happened to them.
Unrealistic thoughts revolve around their heads, which they can't even tell anyone, because adults won't believe their fantasies!
Recovery is possible
Alike many other mental illnesses, the exact cause of OCD, is still unknown. It may result from the differences in the brain's neurotransmitters, some also see genetic factors as the reason.
The treatment of OCD is time-consuming but patiently following the doctor's advice would be beneficial, people can recover. In some unfortunate cases, the disease returns after a long time.
Family plays a big role in lessening the level of this disease. The patient should not be annoyed by any behaviour that makes him feel inferior or frustrated, rather must be dealt with in a friendly manner.
OCD has not spared celebrities too. Famous Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, former England footballer David Beckham, Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Fox all had their struggles with OCD. There is nothing new about their success stories, right? If they can overcome it, so can we.