Most of us have heard it and some of us have even said it, “Oh…that’s my OCD.” And as a parent of a child medically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for a split second I feel a glimmer of hope. Then I realize you aren’t talking about OCD, you are misusing the term OCD.


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The misuse of the term OCD has made OCD a word that people use in their everyday language. The true meaning of OCD has become minimized. People don’t understand the impact that OCD can have on the life of an individual and their families. People have started to think that OCD isn’t anything major. 

OCD isn’t wanting a clean house. OCD isn’t necessarily wanting things to be placed a certain way. OCD isn’t always about having to have things done in a particular order. OCD is not the same as perfectionism.

OCD is about being stuck. OCD is about having to do a particular thing repeatedly until you feel that you can move on. OCD is about not having control over yourself. OCD is time-consuming. OCD is scary. OCD is a bully.

When I hear someone refer to their OCD, I now stop and ask, is it really OCD? I’m not mad at others for misusing the term OCD. I hate to admit that I’ve referred to my quirks as being OCD myself. But that was before I really understood what OCD is and how it affects others. I’ve even been told that I have OCD (which I do not). But still, I have to ask. Because if someone truly has OCD, I want to get to know more. I want to know how it bothers them. I want to know how they overcome it. I want ideas on how I can help my son minimize his suffering. I want to gain a glimpse into the brain of my child.

But it does sadden me to think that my son also feels that glimmer of hope when he hears someone say they have OCD. For a moment, he thinks he’s found someone that understands what he deals with. For a moment, he thinks he’s not alone. For a moment, he feels relief. Then he realizes the person does not have OCD and those thoughts are gone.

I’m not making a plea for the term OCD to stopped being so loosely (although that would be really nice for those that actually suffer from OCD and their families), but rather, be conscious of what OCD actually is. It isn’t something to be treated lightly or overlooked. OCD is serious and a life debilitating disorder.

Is it really OCD