Is Every OCD Sufferer Flipping Out Over COVID-19?

Is Every OCD Sufferer Flipping Out Over COVID-19?

Exercise caution before assuming that everyone who suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is losing it since COVID-19 came to town.

Although some are, many just aren’t. We’ll have to wait to find out what studies down the road have to say about what explains this variation in response.

However, our clinical staff has indeed observed that many of the OCD sufferers we treat actually appear to be handling this crisis a lot better than the general population(or worse, if some are actually taking this real-life crisis less seriously than they should!).

But for a lot of folks without OCD who are inexperienced in dealing with the kinds of uncertainties raised by COVID-19, it’s amateur hour. They’re hoarding toilet paper in a frenzy! (But then again, who knows? In these topsy-turvy times, maybe that IS the right idea!)

As OCD specialists, we must admit it was disconcerting when certain of our most illness-fearful and germophobic patients said that they thought closing our office and going to tele-therapy a few days ago rather overreactive. We are also sure some of them found the sign we put on our front door last week asking them to wash their hands before starting a session rather amusing.

It must also be noted that a few of our extremely contamination-fearful patients said they were perfectly willing to accept any COVID-19 related risks of continuing face-to-face sessions. One even said he would be willing to risk death to continue treatment at our center.

Most of our clinical staff don’t appear to be quite as intrepid.

And some OCD sufferers we know are actually asking their family members to keep COVID-19 in perspective.

How do I control my OCD during COVID-19 while I’m at home?

The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly generates heightened fear, especially in those with obsessive compulsive disorder. Even when you are at home, COVID-19 can cause worry, panic, and uncontrollable stress. Try to control your OCD while quarantined at home during the pandemic with these simple tips.

  • Limit the number of times or amount of sources you check for information regarding COVID-19. Check the news in the morning or at night daily, and limit yourself to that. Checking for information can feed your OCD and create more harm to your mental health.
  • Follow valid health safety procedures and don’t overdo it. If you have OCD, it can be easy to get into a routine of being too cautious, which will feed your disorder instead of easing your mind. Disinfect surfaces once a day, wash your hands the recommended times per day, and then go about your daily routine at home without going overboard with cleaning rituals.
  • Give yourself a break. It is very easy for individuals living with OCD or anxiety to become overly critical of themselves, which will worsen your mental health symptoms. Instead of trying to control every aspect of the pandemic and how it is affecting you, give yourself peace of mind by practicing self confidence.

How do I control my OCD during COVID-19 when I need to leave the house?

Although it is smart for everyone to stay at home as much as possible, leaving the house may sometimes be unavoidable if you need to get groceries, go to the bank, or perform any other essential task outside the home. When you need to leave home, be safe and cautious, but not overly cautious. Wear a mask and gloves, wipe down surfaces such as handles and grocery carts, use hand sanitizer, but don’t worry yourself or your OCD with wiping things down multiple times.


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