The second week of October is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week. Created by the International OCD Foundation, OCD Awareness Week exists to spread helpful information and awareness about obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is a crucial time for a condition often stigmatized and looked down upon.
During Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week, those who have OCD can discover new coping tips and improve their symptom management. Other individuals may receive a diagnosis for the first time. Even people who do not have OCD can participate by furthering their overall understanding and challenging their assumptions about OCD.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Participation in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week starts with developing a baseline knowledge of what OCD actually is. The term is often thrown around by people who are highly organized or very particular about things, but in many cases, those characteristics alone do not indicate OCD. As a genuine medical condition, OCD involves much more than simply “liking order.”
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition primarily characterized by repetitive, uncontrolled thoughts and their associated behaviors. Individuals with OCD face extreme anxiety due to their thoughts. Without treatment, it feels as though they can only resolve that distress by following through with compulsive behaviors.
For example, common obsessions include:
- Fear of misplacing something
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Needing things to be done or arranged in a very specific manner
- Intrusive thoughts, especially about sex or religion
- Wishing harm upon oneself or others
Subsequently, someone may engage in a variety of compulsions to attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by their obsessions. For instance, they may:
- Repeatedly check on the status of something, such as whether a door is locked
- Complete and repeat a task a specific number of times
- Wash their hands until raw or otherwise clean excessively
- Count in patterns
- Arrange items in a particular order
- Demand reassurance
OCD is typically identified when someone is a teenager or young adult. However, it can also begin earlier or remain undiagnosed until much later. Risk factors for OCD include genetics, childhood trauma, differences in brain structure, and stress.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week works to inform people of the signs of OCD so more can get a diagnosis and treatment. OCD can feel like an overwhelming, unending condition, but with the proper support and guidance, people can learn to manage their symptoms even in severe cases.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week
Ever since 2009, the world has come together to observe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week, an international movement designed to bring recognition to the prevalence and stigmatization of OCD. Whether someone has OCD doesn’t matter; the second week of October is about helping everyone become more informed and compassionate.
Individuals across the globe use the hashtag #OCDWeek on social media sites to share information about what it’s truly like to have OCD. With the aid of larger organizations, medical professionals, and community support groups, the entire world listens and learns about a condition that is often trivialized.
Each day of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week focuses on raising awareness for a different aspect of OCD experiences. The schedule for 2022 is as follows:
- Sunday, 10/9: Struggling in Silence
- Monday, 10/10: Diagnosis
- Tuesday, 10/11: Treatment
- Wednesday, 10/12: Life After Treatment
- Thursday, 10/13: Education and Support for Loved Ones
- Friday, 10/14: Building a New Identity
- Saturday, 10/15: Advocacy
Below, we will address each day of OCD Awareness Week in more detail. You can gain a better understanding of what to expect and when you can find certain resources.
Day 1: Struggling in Silence
The first day of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week highlights the lack of accessible OCD treatment. Many people are coerced into thinking their symptoms are “not a big deal” or that they should be able to overcome them on their own.
As a result, many cases of OCD go undiagnosed. Someone may even turn to substance abuse as a coping method in place of proper treatment. However, OCD Awareness Week shows them that they do not have to do it alone.
Day 2: OCD Diagnosis
Even though most cases of OCD are identified during someone’s teenage or young adult years, others may not be diagnosed until someone reaches 40 years of age. This is often due to stigma and ignorance keeping them from seeking help.
During Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week, a day focused on diagnosis provides resources and tips to help people get the answers they seek. For example, mental health facilities may host an OCD screening day to further promote the idea of getting treatment.
Day 3: OCD Treatment
After diagnosis, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week smoothly transitions to focus on treatment itself. This day shares information about the most effective treatment options, such as what they are and where someone can find them.
OCD treatment comes in many forms. Many individuals benefit from psychotherapies like exposure and response prevention (ERP), while others may utilize certain medications. During this time, treatment centers like The Willough at Naples help many people develop individualized treatment plans to tackle their OCD.
Day 4: Life After OCD Treatment
Upon learning about OCD treatment, many people then ask: What next? Is there a permanent cure for OCD? How long does treatment last? Fortunately, the fourth day of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week exists to answer many of these questions.
This day teaches individuals about how to prepare for the future. Similarly, it also speaks of hope by showing that there is, in fact, an attainable life after an OCD diagnosis. It helps people recognize that their symptoms will not last forever and that they can (and will) regain a sense of calm normalcy after treatment.
Day 5: Education and Support for Loved Ones
Given the nature of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week, it is only natural to devote another day to raising awareness in those without OCD. This day accomplishes that by bridging the gaps to family, friends, and other peers in someone’s life.
By providing these individuals with an avenue to learn more about OCD, they can become stronger support figures for their loved ones with OCD. Proper education is a crucial part of minimizing misinformation and reducing stigma.
Day 6: Building a New Identity
OCD can take control of people’s lives to such an extent that they don’t even recognize themselves anymore. They may find it difficult to separate themselves from their condition or feel lost in the wake of treatment. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week takes time to shine a light on these feelings and what someone can do to change them.
In other words, this day teaches individuals about rebuilding a sense of self and control after losing both to OCD. It shows them that long-term recovery is not only possible, but within their grasp. The impacts of OCD do not have to last forever if someone takes the necessary steps to heal.
Day 7: Advocacy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The final day of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week loops back around to the idea of stigmatization. Many harmful types of stigma surround OCD, ranging from treating it as an eccentricity to blaming those who have it for the effects of a condition beyond their control.
A day centered on advocacy helps promote the realities of OCD in a way that does not alienate or villainize those who live with it. By talking about OCD more, it becomes a normalized topic that people don’t shy away from as much. In turn, that open, continuous dialogue benefits everyone who has or knows someone with OCD.
Celebrate Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week in Naples, Florida
The Willough at Naples is proud to recognize the importance of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week. We are a mental health treatment center that offers compassionate and effective care for those in need. Our adult psychiatric services are equipped to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including OCD.
We implement a variety of treatment options in all of our plans, such as:
- Psychiatric assessments
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Recreational therapy
- Medication evaluation and management
- Family counseling
- Group therapy
- Links to community-based resources and support groups
- Discharge and aftercare planning
During Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week, we want to ensure everyone who needs help with their OCD receives the best treatment possible. Whether it is your first time seeking help or a fresh attempt to manage your symptoms, we can connect you with the resources you need.
Contact Us Today
The stigma and misinformation that surrounds OCD will only go away if we talk about it more. OCD Awareness Week encourages us to do exactly that. By raising awareness about OCD and spreading helpful treatment resources, we can aid more people in recognizing and managing their symptoms.
At The Willough at Naples, our staff of licensed physicians and mental health professionals are ready to work with you to develop an individualized OCD treatment plan. Everyone has their own story to tell and their own individual experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Here, we encourage you to share your unique journey so we can provide the most informed care possible.
Please feel free to contact our admissions team if you are interested in learning more about our treatment programs or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Awareness Week. You can reach a staff member by calling 800-722-0100 or submitting a confidential contact form online. Together, we can repair your sense of comfort and control over your own life.