I have OCD. I have friends that know I have OCD and some that don't. There is one thing I've noticed about most of the people that I know when OCD is mentioned in conversation. Almost always, someone either thinks they are 'a bit OCD' about some aspect of their lives or they think that someone they know is 'OCD' about cleaning. This has been further fuelled by the Channel 4 program Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners which to my dismay is very popular in general and amongst my friends.
The OCD charity that I am a member of are very much against the Channel 4 programme OC cleaners. There are many reasons for this:
Hoarding is actually within the spectrum of OCD related disorders and some people with OCD do have hoarding tendencies themselves.
OCD is a very complex issue. People with contamination OCD aren't all the same. Some people will have a spotless bedroom but won't change an item of clothing for weeks. Others may have one section of the house that they spend 5 hours plus cleaning a day and the rest of the house is completely neglected.
For people with OCD the obsession and compulsion is a matter of life and death. A person who considers themselves tidy may want to rid their kitchen of germs / clutter and then once done, put their feet up with a cup of tea. People with OCD may clean because otherwise they think they may contract a deadly virus or someone in their family will be in a car accident if they don't (no matter how irrational this seems).
The level of fear involved in OCD is very serious and if compulsions are interrupted, the sufferer may feel something catastrophic is about to happen.
People with OCD derive no pleasure from their compulsions. People may gain satisfaction from lining up their books and may state 'I'm so OCD'. People with OCD find the whole process highly distressing. They may not be able to leave the house all day until their compulsions are complete, they may not be able to have a job and many will feel complete despair to the point where they may see no way out.
The programme itself can trigger people with OCD. They may initially start to watch it thinking it is something that may help them but all of the germ tests etc are irresponsible and can cause great distress.
The show presents itself like a 'freak show'. It isn't educational in anyway and further reinforces outdated stereotypes.
Contamination OCD is only one aspect of a disorder that is very wide ranging and presents many types of obsessions and compulsions that have nothing to do with contamination / cleaning.
Channel 4 do not care about the concerns of mental health charities despite numerous communications and only seem concerned with ratings. They would rather upset the wellbeing of OCD sufferers and continue the mistaken beliefs that are prominent in society regarding OCD.
As you can see after reading the above, Channel 4 really could provide a better service by addressing some of the issues and offering a more balanced view of what obsessive compulsive disorder really is.
Channel 4 need to rethink their policy of choosing ratings over education when it comes to broadcasting.
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