Myth Busting Common Misconceptions About OCD
But wait a minute… what if your home isn’t very neat and tidy? What if you just need to relax and stop worrying? If those are your thoughts, you’re already thinking about OCD from the standpoint of myths and misconceptions.
Let’s take a look at what OCD really is so that you can get a better idea of what treatment may be necessary for you or your loved one.
Common Myths About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The facts about OCD have gotten muddled by popular culture and misinformation. People love to say that they’re “acting OCD” without any real knowledge of what the disorder is or what causes OCD.
People have a lot of harmful and scary ideas of OCD which can lead to avoiding treatment and staying in denial. Here are some of the most common myths and why they aren’t true.
You Can “Act a Little OCD”
The disorder is related to compulsions and obsessions which cannot simply be turned off.
While most people will experience a compulsion to do things every once in a while, they will not have the obsession to do it. The same is not true of people with OCD. There is such a stark difference between people with and without OCD, that the images of their brain scans show up differently.
People With OCD Should Just Relax
People With OCD Are Automatically Neat and Clean
There’s Only One Kind of OCD
An OCD Diagnosis Means Life As You Knew It Is Over
With these measures and support systems, there’s no reason why someone with OCD can’t continue all the things that make life worth living.
Misconceptions About Treatment
Even once you understand the facts about OCD better and no longer believe the myths, it can still feel daunting to enter treatment. This is because there are also misconceptions about the treatment process!
You want to be sure that you’re doing something good for yourself while getting treatment. That you also agree with the philosophy behind it, and what you can reasonably expect it to do for you. Let’s look at some OCD myths about treatment.
Treatment Is a Fight Against Your Own Brain
You can learn which signals to take seriously and how to experience your feelings and move past them when they aren’t helpful.
Therapy Will Eliminate or Cure Your OCD
Instead, you will learn how to respond when those feelings do come up in a healthy way. You will learn to experience uncomfortable thoughts without them ruining your whole day or sending you into a spiral of rituals.
With enough practice, your OCD symptoms will become much more manageable and in some cases unrecognizable. They’ll look like any other day-to-day uncomfortable feelings you may experience.
It’s All About Uncomfortable Exposure Exercises
Acceptance Means Agreement
The goal is not to forbid thoughts you disagree with or think are unhelpful. Instead, it’s to recognize where they’re coming from and then to deem them irrelevant. Everyone experiences intrusive thoughts, but people without OCD are able to move on from them without acting.
Treatment Will Teach You To Ignore Dangers
Treatment can help you recognize most of your triggers as unthreatening scenarios. And it will help you recognize your compulsions as unhelpful reactions.
Treatment Is About Distraction
The tools you will receive will not be to distract yourself from your intrusive thoughts and triggers but to face them head-on. When you see triggers for what they are instead of the worst version your brain can come up with, you will see that though they may be uncomfortable, they are not usually unsafe.
Therapy Will Make You Feel Better
Therapy will make you live better. You will function more normally and have a fuller and more productive life. Of course, when you start to experience the benefits of that new kind of life, you are likely to feel better and happier.
But it is not the therapy that makes you feel better, it is your own life that you’ll finally get to live.
Disorders Frequently Confused as OCD
Unfortunately, there are so many overlaps in symptoms of mental disorders that sometimes misdiagnoses happen. Or you could suspect one thing and have your doctor tell you that it’s actually something else. If the above description of OCD felt familiar but not quite right, you may want to talk to your psychiatrist about one of these other disorders.
No amount of exposure to “triggers” will change a person with a tic disorder’s desire to tic.
Impulse Control Disorders
Also, not everyone with OCD experiences perfectionism while everyone with OCPD does. It often affects their ability to complete tasks.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Instead, they do it because they crave a certain kind of rigidity and have strong expectations about routines. Also, people on the autism spectrum may experience social difficulties and misconceptions while people with OCD do not.
Psychotic Disorders and Schizophrenia
However, it’s important to understand that people with delusions are not grounded in reality and believe their delusions to be 100% real and true. Most people with OCD know that their obsessions don’t actually make logical sense and are able to separate them from the truth, even if they cannot stop their reactions. They’re also able to stay in strong touch with reality in all other areas of their lives.
How To Get OCD Treatment Coverage
Now that you have a better idea of what OCD and its treatment look like, you’re probably ready to get started and take your life back. Whether you have a diagnosis and are ready to begin serious treatment for it, or this article sparked curiosity and you’d like to speak to a psychiatrist about care, you’ll need to know how to find financial coverage for your treatment.
Since the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, insurance providers have been required to cover mental health treatment in the same way that they would physical health. This means your insurance will treat copays, yearly visits, deductibles, etc. equally. For more information about what your insurance will cover, you should speak directly to your insurance provider.
Both Medicaid and Medicare offer some form of coverage for mental health treatment either equal to physical benefits or (in the case of youth) full coverage for therapy, medication, and case management.
If you are seeking treatment from a provider outside of your insurance, you may be able to use a Health Savings Account to fund the treatment or through a plan in your insurance for “out of network providers”.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Myths Busted and Treatment on the Way
Do you have a better idea of what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is and how it presents itself? If you recognize yourself or a loved one with these symptoms, you may want to seek help. There’s no shame in beginning treatment and you won’t lose any of the protection or safety that your OCD behaviors may be making you feel.
Take a look at how our treatment works for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and then call us today about a consultation.
- American Psychiatric Association. (n.d.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). Retrieved November 1, 2021, from https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Retrieved November 1, 2021, from https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Other-Insurance-Protections/mhpaea_factsheet
- Facts & Statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2021, from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
- Schreiber, L., Odlaug, B. L., & Grant, J. E. (2011). Impulse control disorders: updated review of clinical characteristics and pharmacological management. Frontiers in psychiatry, 2, 1. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00001
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