A Primer on OCD and How to Cope With It

Makayla Parker, Health Editor

OCD: A mental disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, and behaviors that drive them to do something over and over, or having a need (compulsion) to perform certain “rituals” that may seem unnecessary, strange, or ridiculous to others.

OCD is a common disorder among teens and young adults. Symptoms vary, but can range from being a perfectionist to being a germaphobe.

Living with OCD can be stressful. Depending on how severe the OCD the person has is, it can affect them emotionally and physically. Examples include: Touching anything dealing with germs, even things as small as erasing shavings on a desk, other examples are having unwanted thoughts and panic attacks.

People with OCD have certain habits, such as, handwashing, cleaning, counting, avoiding physical contact, and demanding reassurance. This doesn’t mean just washing your hands after you’re done using the bathroom, this is washing your hands constantly until they’re raw.

While there are some medicines to help people with the condition, there are also some non-pharmaceutical ways to cope with OCD:

  • Therapy
  • Journaling
  • Being organized
  • Make a list of things you want to avoid
  • Avoiding things that people touch
  • Clean to help stress and/or anxiety
  • Cooking
  • Reading
  • Exercise

Everyone with OCD have different things to help calm them down. Maybe you’d rather do what you want, and that’s fine.

OCD is not curable per se, but with proper treatment, it can make life seem normal.

It is recommended to talk to your healthcare provider and talk to them about behavioral therapy or physiological therapy to help with your OCD.

Having a private space for yourself can also help, because you can keep it organized in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

Even though it is fiction, a very good book about OCD and how it affects teens is called The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten.