Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors like handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed to either prevent obsessive thoughts or make them go away. Performing these “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them dramatically increases anxiety.
After years of research, doctors and scientists have developed effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder; and research is yielding new, improved therapies that can help most people with OCD and other anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives.
In a continuing series on mental illness, Globe and Mail writer Siri Agrell introduces us to Alyse Schacter, a young woman learning to live with OCD and teaching those around her to understand and accept mental illness.
An excerpt from that article is included below. To read it in it’s entirety, follow the link at the end.
“She hears a voice in her head that insists she repeat certain movements and words, and has an irrational sense of urgency that causes her to stop in the middle of a sentence to make sure she hasn’t offended anyone.
But two years ago, she was preparing to hear a voice call her name to a roomful of applause. Alyse was honored by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation’s Courage to Come Back Awards.
Alyse, despite her challenges, has made a mark on her community through her efforts to raise awareness about mental illness, and to convey to other kids that “you can still be normal even if you’re being weird.”