I have heard plenty of people say "I am OCD" when they clean up a desk or need things placed in a certain order, but that is belittling a serious disorder. More than just double checking that you locked your car, or liking when things are stacked in size-order, OCD can drive people to self harm and paranoia.
Here are four important truths about OCD that will change the way you see the disease.
1. Obsessions are more than just worries.
The obsessions that characterize OCD occur completely spontaneously. It is not just something that the person can not think about.
Researchers believe OCD is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, and in order to try to get rid of this, each person will do whatever they can to get rid of it, usually performing various compulsions.
2. Compulsions can be much more subtle than counting or washing hands.
We tend to think of OCD in terms of habits like washing one's hands a certain number of times, counting out loud, checking locks over and over again, etc, but many, if not most, cases of OCD aren't this obvious.
Just because there aren't any obvious compulsions to be seen, it doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of internal struggles going on.
3. OCD often has nothing to do with cleanliness or organization.
Only around a third of OCD patients have conditions revolving around cleanliness.
Common obsessions and compulsions can have nothing to do with cleanliness or organization. They include violence/harm, hoarding, religious beliefs, and checking locks.
4. OCD cannot be cured, but it can be treated very effectively.
OCD, while incurable, is an extremely treatable disorder. Therapy and meditation have made huge strides in the treatment of this disorder.
If you have OCD, you can gain control of your thoughts.