Living With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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This essay will introduce some similarities and differences between both symptoms and experiences of six different authors who have been personally affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Since OCD is not very well understood by many members of the public ("Escape"), I hope that the experiences of the authors that I researched will be able to paint a vivid picture of what life with OCD is like. Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves a chemical imbalance in the brain. This chemical imbalance is thought to be the main reason for obsessions and compulsions, although there may be other factors as well. Nearly one in every fifty people suffers from symptoms of OCD ("Escape"), and approximately 5 million Americans are affected by…show more content…
When they finally found out about OCD, they felt tremendous relief. Summers recalls he thought, "I'm not crazy after all" (139+). The author of "Escape From the Manhole" wrote, "Realizing that my sexual thoughts meant absolutely nothing about me or my character was an incredible relief" (n.pag.). George also emphasizes, "I was so happy there was actually a name for my problem" (82+). I found the fact that the authors did not know about OCD to be rather interesting. I would think that it would be extremely difficult and discouraging to be experiencing such horrible things and not even know what was wrong. This is probably one of the major reasons that the authors were so relieved when they found out they were not alone with their obsessions. After being diagnosed with OCD, all the authors either took medication, often an antidepressant, participated in therapy, or both. Both Summers and Street at first dismissed the idea of taking drugs but later gave in (Summers 139+; Street 72+). The therapy in most cases was quite similar. The authors' therapists had them do things that were against their compulsions, such as only washing their hands once. This therapy was used to show the patients that the things they thought would happen to them if they didn't complete their obsessions were just thoughts (Lanning 58+). Many of the authors were not exactly thrilled about the therapy, but without it their
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