By Cierra Wright and Cassidy Ashby; Farnsley Middle School (Louisville, KY)

Heather Ashby, age 35, (author Cassidy Ashby’s mom) has to have the house clean and make sure the house is organized at all times or it will drive her crazy. She even has to go through three stages to clean the floors: sweep, dry mop, and then wet mop. One day Cassidy asked her, “Why does everything have to be clean?”

A constant need to clean is one symptom of OCD. Credit: Front Page Science.

“Because of my OCD,” she responded. Ashby will pick up Cassidy’s stuff and put it in the wrong spot. She is always yelling at her to clean my room because the room never stays clean.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder, in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that they feel the urge to repeat over and over again.

OCD occurs in 1 to 3% of the population, typically in young adulthood. It is usually mild. For example, children will avoid stepping on cracks or organize their toys very precisely. It could go away when they grow older. Heather always has the urge to clean dishes or her room repeatedly.

“OCD is a very misunderstood condition, with the term OCD often being misused,” writes Dr. Stephen Kichuck from Yale University in an email to Scijourner. “OCD is not about wanting to be neat or tidy, or being a germaphobe. It’s a condition that has a significant repercussion on people’s lives.”

You may have one of two parts of OCD. You may have the compulsive or the obsessive part of OCD or you could have both.

According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of obsessive OCD are fear of contamination, aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others, having things orderly or symmetrical, fear of being contaminated by shaking someone’s hand, or intense stress when objects are not orderly or facing a certain way.

The symptoms of compulsive OCD are always washing and cleaning, counting, and only following strict routines

Ashby has compulsive OCD because she is always either washing and cleaning, counting and recounting, or checking items repeatedly.

According to the NIH, environment may cause OCD. For example, people who have experienced abuse—physical or sexual–in childhood or other trauma are at an increased risk for developing OCD. In addition, an infection is a possible trigger for OCD. Genes, stress, life, brain, and personality changes, and your way of thinking could also trigger OCD. Symptoms generally worsen when experiencing more stress. OCD can drive you away from your relationship with your family and friends.

Ashby often does not have time to do stuff with her daughter because she is always busy cleaning!

According to the Mayo Clinic, OCD could possibly cause problems with the ability to attend work, school, or any other social activities; and relationships. It can also lead to a poor quality of life or anxiety disorder

There is no cure for OCD. Therapies for OCD typically consists of medication, to help a person control their symptoms. The medications are sertralineparoxetinefluvoxamine, and fluoxetine.

After Ashby was diagnosed with OCD, she was put on medication. The medication helped with her symptoms, but she stopped the medication after a while because it stopped working.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License