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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

headshot of Marc Summers wearing a black suit and blue shirt with arms crossed in front of a kitchen set

Marc Summers

“In order to practice and be good at the art of magic, you have to do the same thing over and over and over again. Little did I know how much Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was a positive aspect of becoming a magician and also becoming a performer.”

Marc Summers, TV Host, Double Dare, Unwrapped

Actress Jessica Alba and host Howie Mandel also have OCD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects 3.3 million people. According to National Institute of Mental Health, OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety (obsessions), repetitive behaviors that are engaged in to reduce anxiety (compulsions) or a combination of both. People with OCD are unable to control their anxiety-producing thoughts and their need to engage in ritualized behaviors. Although OCD symptoms typically develop during teen years or early adulthood, research shows that at least one-third of adult cases began during childhood.

OCD has many stereotypes and misconceptions. Do not use OCD as an adjective for someone who obsesses over certain things but has not been formally diagnosed as having OCD.

National organizations for people with OCD:

  • The International OCD Foundation’s mission is to help everyone affected by OCD and related disorders to live full and productive lives. Their aim is to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI is an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in the community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
  • The Peace of Mind Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help improve the quality of life of people with OCD through education, research, support and advocacy. The Foundation created and fully subsidizes the OCD Challenge, a free online self-help website for individuals with OCD.

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