Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental health disorder characterized by a cycle of intrusive thoughts and compulsions. An unwanted thought or fear produces anxiety and distress, leading people to engage in rituals and responses that temporarily alleviate that distress until the intrusive thought appears again.
Half of OCD cases are misdiagnosed, and it can take up to 17 years for an individual to receive effective treatment after experiencing symptom onset. But why?
A lack of education and stigma make OCD less visible in the medical community as well as culturally. Host Anita Rao talks with writers and married couple Nicole and Mike Comforto about how they found out about Mike’s OCD diagnosis and how the disorder and subsequent treatment affected their marriage.
Anita also talks with writer and journalist H.T., whose OCD symptoms started in kindergarten, about the ways in which OCD has shaped her interactions with friends, family and dates.
A special thank you to Dr. Monnica Williams for contributing to this episode. Dr. Williams is the clinical and training director for the Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Tolland, Connecticut, which also houses the New England OCD Institute. She is also the Canada Research Chair in mental health disparities and a licensed clinical psychologist in the United States and Canada.
And thank you to Alexandra Reynolds for sharing her story with us.