OCD isn’t just about being a neat freak. And for those with it, this next stage of the pandemic may be hard

https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/14/health/ocd-pandemic-struggles/index.html

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By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

CNN)During the pandemic, Malena Dell sat in her car at a gas station for 45 minutes crying because she couldn’t touch the gas handle to fill up the tank. She went from washing her groceries to not eating at all, afraid of getting herself — or someone else — sick.

Dell lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and like many people in the United States, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed huge challenges for her. 

“I know that the uncertainty was hard for others,” said Dell, who lives in Martinsville, Indiana. “Those of us with OCD have been like, ‘Welcome. This is what it’s like for us all the time.'”

The prevalence of OCD was on the rise even before the pandemic, according to a 2020 study. And clinicians have more patients seeking treatment, according to Bianca Simmons, a Houston therapist specializing in OCD.

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Anxious as we transition out of the pandemic? That's common and can be treated, experts say

The stress, disruptions and uncertainty of the pandemic has posed challenges for those who have been diagnosed with OCD and those experiencing tendencies that line up with the disorder, said Broderick Sawyer, a clinical psychologist in Louisville, Kentucky. But even as the world transitions to a sense of normalcy, challenges lie ahead for many people.

The disorder is not just about fastidiousness and a tendency toward organization, said Erin Nghe, a licensed clinical social worker who treats patients with OCD in the Atlanta metro area. It’s an often debilitating disorder that can latch on to core fears, including concerns over morality and the potential for harming others, Nghe said.

Before seeking intensive treatment, Dell said that 12 hours of her daily life was taken up by attending to her compulsions.

Symptoms can be exacerbated by stress of any kind, Simmons said. And even as the pandemic disruptions wind down, there could be challenges in maintaining mental health. It’s important for both people with an OCD diagnosis and those without one to recognize the stress that may come their way and learn to address it in a healthy way, Sawyer said. 

“The pandemic is ending, and some people are going to return to normal, but my brain will never return back to normal and it’s something that I’ve had to learn to deal with through recovery and treatment,” Dell said.

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One response to this post.

  1. OCD is one of the major anxiety disorders along with PTSD

    One of my younger brothers has strong OCD tendencies.

    I got PTSD

    He got OCD

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