What is it like to have OCD? - Center for Evidence Based Treatment Orange County DBT and CBT
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What is it like to have OCD?

I’m currently at an OCD Intensive training in Chicago. I often hear people refer to very neat people as being “so OCD.” Some people with OCD seem to like things to be perfect (“Just So”subtype of OCD), but there is more to it than just liking it. They are obsessed with it and compulsively do something to neutralize their distress.

Here is something from the International OCD Foundation’s website to gain a better understanding of what an individual with OCD experiences:

Imagine that your mind got stuck on a certain thought or image . . .
Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind over and
over again no matter what you did . . .
You don’t want these thoughts – it feels like an avalanche . . . Along with the thoughts come intense feelings of anxiety . . .
Anxiety is your brain’s warning system. When you feel anxious it feels like you are in danger. Anxiety is an emotion that tells you to respond, react, protect yourself, DO SOMETHING . . .

On the one hand, you might recognize that the fear doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem reasonable yet it still feels very real, intense, and true . . .
Why would your brain lie?
Why would you be experiencing feelings if they weren’t true?
Feelings don’t lie . . .

Unfortunately, if you have OCD, they do lie. If you have OCD, the warning system in your brain is not working correctly. Your brain is telling you that you are in danger when you are not.

When scientists compare pictures of the brains of groups of people with OCD, they can see that on average some areas of the brain are different compared to individuals who don’t have OCD. Those tortured with this disorder are desperately trying to get away from paralyzing, unending anxiety.