People with OCD experience recurrent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or rituals (compulsions), which they feel they cannot control. Rituals, such as handwashing, counting, checking or cleaning, are often performed in hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these rituals, however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them increases anxiety. Left untreated, obsessions and the need to perform rituals can take over a person’s life. OCD is often a chronic, relapsing condition.
OCD is not an adjective and when the term OCD is used in a way to describe someone being “quirky,” it’s harmful to the people who have OCD. It can be misleading and create an unnecessary barrier to seeking and finding effective care and support.