Have you ever blamed someone for having OCD or another mental health issue? Have you ever blamed yourself for having OCD? I am prompted to write this post after a patient told me that her high school health teacher did a unit on “why people have mental illness”. He listed such reasons as being selfish and lazy and completed disregarded the facts (he’s clearly an idiot). Lets dispel some other myths about OCD!
YOU HAVE OCD BECAUSE YOU ARE DUMB: It’s sad how much I hear this. OCD does not discriminate by way of one’s IQ. In fact, research continues to explore the connection between IQ and OCD. This study shows the mean IQ of those with OCD to be in the normal range. Anecdotally speaking, I would say the vast majority of my patients with OCD are bright, critical thinkers with flourishing careers.
I MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY TO HAVE OCD: I almost feel silly for writing that down…but I’ve heard that exact statement. It is a humbling experience, for those who believe their income can protect them from almost anything, to face the battle that is OCD. It does’t discriminate by socioeconomic status. You can’t buy your mental health, although it can increase your access to effective care unfortunately.
MY STRUGGLE WITH OCD IS MY PARENT’S FAULT: Yes, what your parents gave you by way of genetics and parenting style could contribute to the progression of your OCD, but not necessarily be the sole causation. Research does support the idea that those who experienced neglectful and permissive parenting styles were more likely to experience OCD. The research is interesting and you can find a bit more here and here.
OCD IS ONLY A FIRST WORLD ISSUE: Approximately 2% of the world wide population experiences OCD. Although populations of those with OCD in developing countries are often underrepresented in the research, OCD is not a disorder only for developed countries. I can attest to this, as I treat people in over 20 countries on 6 continents. However, various parts of the world certainly have different cultural views on mental health, access to care, and may consider addressing mental health to be a “luxury”. (Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or if soldiers will invade your village overnight, your OCD symptoms might not be the priority). If interested, find out more about OCD world wide here.