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Students lack full awareness of OCD

Shannon Tierney, In-depth editor

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Did you know that this month there was a week entirely dedicated to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? You may not have been aware, but it was during the week of October 9th. It was created with the intention of not only raising awareness about OCD but also so that people will be able to receive the most appropriate care for their mental illness.
There are sometimes small things that irritate people, for example some may have noticed the headline does not line up with this article. Those small annoyances are what a person with OCD experiences only aplified ten fold.
According to iocdf.org, it is easy for OCD to be misdiagnosed because many of the symptoms that go along with it are associated with other mental illnesses. Which leads to people ‘underrating’ OCD or not thinking it is a valid mental illness.
To tell a person that the illness they have, and have most likely been struggling with for a long time, is not as important as another type of mental illness is unfair and will only further the damage done to that person.
OCD is often under diagnosed and underrated because a lot of doctors do not know all of the symptoms for it and will misdiagnose it for something else. Thus the patient will be mistreated and not given the help they actually need to better themselves.
OCD is one of many anxiety disorders, mental conditions that result in chronic fear and uncertainty in the victims’ minds. According to serendip.brynmawr.edu, anxiety disorders plague 40 million American adults, while OCD alone affects 2.2 million Americans.
Patients who suffer from OCD often experience constant thoughts and worries (obsessions) and develop repetitive rituals (compulsions) to aid them in dealing with their anxiety.
Depending on a person’s fears, OCD can manifest itself in many different forms. Most commonly it is associated with the fear of germs and dirt, leading to excessive hand washing and cleaning.
But unlike other anxiety disorders that cause the victim to perform compulsive acts, studies have shown that OCD victims get no pleasure from performing these rituals. They do them to simply appease their anxieties.
”One of the challenges they (students) were faced with was grooming or personal hygiene, where they had a routine set in the morning and they had to get through that routine to move on and to come to school,” said Josh Bloodgood, social worker.
“The challenge is trying to keep up with all of the awareness weeks when they occur and my issue is that they become similar to a Hallmark Holiday. So, yes, it is important to bring an awareness to all these challenges that people are faced with, but if we’re just more cognizant that each of us carries with us different baggage and there’s challenges we all face then things will be that much better,” said Bloodgood.
Luckily there are some options available for a student with OCD that can help them while they are at school.
“When a student begins to think that ‘this isn’t going to go right, I have to get through this’ sometimes what we can do as school social workers is provide students an opportunity to get someplace private in the building so that they can work through that and then move on to their next class,” said Bloodgood.
In the end, OCD is a very serious illness that more people need to have knowledge of so that they can be a helping hand if ever in a situation dealing with a person who has OCD.

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The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus
Students lack full awareness of OCD