Stopping the spread of OCD misinformation

By Stephen Smith
3 minute READ
Featured media

Ever since being diagnosed with OCD and learning how to manage it, I’ve consistently reflected on the unfortunate fact that hundreds of millions of people globally suffer with the condition, yet most aren’t able to access effective treatment for it. It doesn’t make sense. How can a condition that’s classified as one of the most prevalent mental illnesses and disabling chronic conditions go grossly mismanaged – especially over the last few decades – when very effective treatment has been available? 

The reason: the spread of “OCD misinformation.”

Most people believe that OCD is a personality quirk, not a condition driven by unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that are sometimes taboo in nature, always cause extreme distress, and seemingly recur nonstop. Moreover, most don’t realize that OCD requires specialty treatment from a licensed therapist that’s specifically trained in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) – the considered “gold-standard” OCD treatment. 

Our society is partially to blame. From Hollywood movies to influencer campaigns, OCD is typically used as the butt of a joke; a humorous way to describe someone for having “chronically particular” traits. As a result, hundreds of millions of people hear the term OCD, associate it with the misconception, and socialize it incorrectly – fueling the spread of OCD misinformation. This string of events causes those experiencing hallmark OCD symptoms, as well as their families and medical professionals, to rarely link their suffering back to OCD.

After seeing yet another famous influencer mischaracterize OCD on social media this past week, not out of malice but out of pure ignorance, my team and I at NOCD have decided to step up and make a difference in stopping the spread of OCD misinformation. We are hoping that more people will be able to speak with a licensed mental health professional who’s specialty-trained in OCD and ERP, learn more about their symptoms, and receive guidance for “what to do next” clinically.

That’s why NOCD has launched a directory of all of our therapists, to help you more easily find a qualified professional who treats OCD in your area. The directory can help you identify a therapist you can establish a meaningful connection with, and learn more about how they can help get better. Each therapist’s profile includes a bio that details their background, therapy style, and experience with treating people with OCD. They’ve even shared an introductory video for you that will tell you a bit about who they are. 

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our therapist directory, or book a free 15-minute phone call with our team. On the free call, a member from NOCD will help you learn about the first session, match you with a therapist, and even explain what ERP treatment for OCD is like. We know from personal experience that OCD is brutal and treatment takes work, so our goal is to make everything else in the process feel like a “white glove experience.”

Although we’re making strides, changing public perception about OCD and getting everyone the care they deserve isn’t happening fast enough. That’s why my team and I are looking to become more involved in the conversation. 

There will be more to come too from NOCD; this is just the start.

Stephen Smith
WRITTEN BYStephen Smith

Read next