Washing My Life Away: Surviving Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Washing My Life Away: Surviving Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Washing My Life Away: Surviving Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Washing My Life Away: Surviving Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Synopsis

How many of us double check that we really have locked the door or switched off the iron? For some people, such mundane everyday worries can become life-ruining obsessions. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects one in fifty people and one of them was Ruth Deane. In this frank and personal account she shares her own experience as an OCD sufferer, from the first innocuous signs of onset to the devastating effect of the condition on her relationships with her family and friends, her self-esteem and her marriage. Ruth Deane takes the reader on a moving, honest and at times light-hearted journey, from washing her hands until they cracked and bled, to hospital admission and eventual management and recovery from OCD. This book offers hope and support to sufferers and an insight into the disorder for family, friends, professionals and all those who want or need to understand OCD and the recovery process.

Excerpt

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety condition which creates worries, doubts and superstitious beliefs that become excessive and debilitating to the sufferer. It is as though the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just can’t let go. OCD is a medical brain disorder that causes problems in information processing. As with all disorders of the brain, OCD can cause extreme suffering to those with the condition and the people who are close to them.

OCD is an illness affecting more than two per cent of the population; thus it is more common than severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or panic disorder, although it was once thought to be rare. Research by the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation suggests that, in the United States, one in 50 adults currently has OCD, and twice as many have had it at some point in their lives. Research also shows that, despite the belief that such disorders only affect people who have experienced abuse in their childhood, OCD can in fact affect anyone, and for no apparent reason. As with all mental disorders, it is almost impossible to ascertain exactly how, why or when such illnesses take effect.

1 Statistics taken from British National Health Service and the
Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, July 2004.

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