The symptoms of binge eating disorder and how parents help

We all overeat sometimes, but for one in 50 people, including children and teenagers, overeating can turn into the most common but least understood eating problem – binge eating disorder.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is far more than just being greedy – it’s a serious mental illness which, along with other eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, may have got worse for some during the pandemic, because of the uncertainty, stress, and lack of support networks.

This year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which takes place between March 1-7, focuses on binge eating, and while the disorder can affect anyone of any age or gender, it’s known that most eating disorders begin in adolescence – although sometimes, they can start even younger.

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs for the eating disorders charity Beat, says: “Binge eating disorder is a serious mental illness. It’s not about choosing to eat more food than usual, nor are people who suffer from it just ‘overindulging’ – far from being enjoyable, binges are very distressing, and sufferers find it difficult to stop during a binge, even if they want to.”

And Kerrie Jones, who runs the eating disorder day care treatment centre Orri says: “People with binge eating disorder often talk of going into a trance-like state when they binge, and they may engage in drastic and abnormal behaviours to get hold of food, such as stealing or eating food that’s been thrown away.

“There’s no pleasure involved with bingeing – it’s a compulsive act and often a response to emotional distress.”

Here, Jones and Quinn discuss the symptoms of binge eating disorder, and how parents can spot the signs in their child and help them…

What are the symptoms of binge eating disorder?

Signs vary, says Quinn, but often include eating when not hungry or until uncomfortably full, hoarding food, avoiding eating around others, withdrawing socially and isolating, and weight gain.

Unlike people with bulimia, binge eaters don’t try to get rid of the food they’ve eaten by vomiting, although they may fast afterwards.

Feelings of self-disgust and self-harming may also be part of the disorder, says Jones, as well as perfectionism, depression, conditions like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety, low self-esteem and a preoccupation with body image and appearance.

“Typically, people with binge eating disorder will struggle to regulate their eating habits and relationship to food,” she explains.

“They may swing between bingeing and then compensating for a binge by severely restricting their food intake. It’s common for people to feel trapped within a cycle of bingeing and restricting – it can feel extremely out of control, and there can be a lot of shame associated with bingeing, causing people to isolate and become more secretive around food and their emotional state.”

What causes BED?

Quinn says that while the exact cause isn’t known, it’s likely to be caused by a combination of biological and social factors.

“The most common precursor to a binge is low mood, and it’s thought binges may occur in response to challenging emotions and difficult life events,” he says.

What’s the difference between binge eating and being greedy?

Overeating occasionally is normal, says Quinn. “There’s no need to worry if it doesn’t happen very often and it’s done without feeling out of control, distressed or guilty. But if your child is experiencing the symptoms of binge eating disorder regularly, this could be a cause for concern.” In such cases, parents should speak to their GP, he advises.

How can parents help young people with BED?

As soon as you suspect something’s wrong, talk to your child, picking a calm time when they’re receptive, advises Jones.

“Approach the topic gently,” she says, “keeping in mind that despite what it looks like, eating disorders are not about food. Rather, food is a symptom of much more complex, underlying emotional causes, and it’s likely your child will be struggling with co-occurring conditions like depression and anxiety.

“Focusing on food behaviours in isolation may cause them to become defensive or to deny their experience, and it’s very important to ensure lines of communication are kept open.”

Quinn suggests parents ask their child how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. “Try not to assume what they may be going through,” he says.

“Your child might tell you they want to be left alone, or that you can’t do anything to help, so it can be helpful to remind them you can hear they’re upset and how difficult things are, and you’ll be there to help them if they need you.”

Could this be my fault?

It’s nobody’s fault that a child develops an eating disorder, stresses Quinn, who points out: “It can feel overwhelming to have a loved one diagnosed with binge eating disorder, and it’s important to remember that neither they or you are to blame.”

What else can parents do?

Both experts say it’s important for parents to educate themselves about BED – there’s plenty of information on Beat’s website. “Your child may be equally concerned or confused by what they’re going through, so do your research,” advises Jones.

Finding specialist help is also vitally important, she stresses, pointing out that an eating disorder psychotherapist, psychologist or clinic, combined with a specialist dietitian, can help young people and their families take important steps towards recovery.

Is there any point trying to limit their food, or money they might buy food with?

Quinn says parents should only do this if specifically advised to by their child’s treatment team. “Limiting food or money only tries to control their behaviour, rather than helping to address the underlying cause, and your child could feel victimised and struggle more as a result,” he warns.

Is a full recovery possible?

Quinn and Jones both wholeheartedly believe that with the right help, it’s possible to make a full and sustained recovery from binge eating disorder.

Jones says eating disorder experts work to heal the underlying cause of the problem, by giving sufferers the tools they need for long-term, sustainable recovery, and giving them hope.

And Quinn adds: “Recovery will vary from person to person – some recovered people may still experience eating disorder thoughts from time to time, but not allow them to take effect by using the coping techniques they’ve learned.”

Call the Beat Youthline for under 18s on 0808 801 0711.

The unlikely place young workers fight mental-health taboos

It makes sense that Gen Z would pick up the ball from millennials and run with it, as both have been shaped by global crises. Both the 2008 recession and 9/11 greatly impacted millennials experiences, and experts expect Gen Z will be similarly marked by the coronavirus. Hibbs and Strohschein suggest that these crises have lowered the sense of risk in Gen Z, and heightened their interest in de-stigmatising discussion around barriers that hold them back, including mental health.

What’s the risk?

There is, of course, inherent professional risk around such vocalisation. Research shows that many employees, especially of older generations, withhold disclosure of mental-health struggles; some also express worry about their viability as a job candidate or fear workplace stigmatisation if they’re seen as emotionally unstable or vulnerable.

However, Selwood says he’s not worried about the risks – and research suggests he’s not the only member of Gen Z who agrees.

The support and validation Selwood has received from strangers and family alike has made him less afraid of repercussions, including at work. “If, for instance, my boss sends me, ‘Oh, I’ve just seen your TikTok, for the clients, would you mind not posting about [it]?’ I’d literally be like, ‘No…’ It would be like someone expressing their love for the LGBTQ community and your boss telling you, ‘Can you please not talk about that, because I don’t think it’s appropriate?’ It is appropriate, because it is a fact of life. Everyone has mental health, just like we have physical health,” says Selwood.

But he acknowledges not everyone can operate from that mentality. Selwood works with social-media influencers for his day job, and says he has full support from his colleagues and clients alike for his content. “My colleagues have always been extremely supportive. But I understand that, obviously, in some jobs you need to be careful with what you post,” he says.

FAIR Health study highlights the impact of COVID-19 on pediatric mental health – News

In March and April 2020, mental health claim lines for individuals aged 13-18, as a percentage of all medical claim lines, approximately doubled over the same months in the previous year. At the height of the spring wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, this rise in mental health claim lines amounted to 97.0 percent in March and 103.5 percent in April. These are among the many findings in FAIR Health’s new white paper, the seventh in its COVID-19 studies, The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health: A Study of Private Healthcare Claims.

In those same months of March and April 2020, all medical claim lines (including mental health claim lines) decreased by approximately half (53.3 percent in March 2020 and 53.4 percent in April 2020), FAIR Health found. That pattern of increased mental health claim lines and decreased medical claim lines continued through November 2020, though to a lesser extent.

Defining the pediatric population as individuals aged 0-22 years, and focusing on the age groups 13-18 years and 19-22 years, FAIR Health studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on US pediatric mental health. To do so, FAIR Health analyzed data from its database of over 32 billion private healthcare claim records, tracking month-by-month changes from January to November 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. Aspects of pediatric mental health investigated include overall mental health, intentional self-harm, overdoses and substance use disorders, top mental health diagnoses, reasons for emergency room visits and state-by-state variations.

The decrease in all medical claim lines is likely due to widespread restrictions on nonemergency medical care in spring 2020 and continuing avoidance of such care even after restrictions were lifted in May. It is striking, therefore, that one component of medical care, mental healthcare, increased significantly even while overall medical care was falling.

Other findings reported in the white paper include:

  • Comparing August 2019 to August 2020 in the Northeast, for the age group 13-18, there was a 333.93 percent increase in intentional self-harm claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines, a rate higher than that in any other region in any month studied for that age group.
  • Claim lines for intentional self-harm as a percentage of all medical claim lines in the 13-18 age group increased 90.71 percent in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The increase was even larger when comparing April 2020 to April 2019, nearly doubling (99.83 percent).
  • For the age group 13-18, claim lines for overdoses increased 94.91 percent as a percentage of all medical claim lines in March 2020 and 119.31 percent in April 2020 over the same months the year before. Claim lines for substance use disorders also increased as a percentage of all medical claim lines in March (64.64 percent) and April (62.69 percent) 2020 as compared to their corresponding months in 2019.
  • For the age group 6-12, from spring to November 2020, claim lines for obsessive-compulsive disorder and tic disorders increased as a percentage of all medical claim lines from their levels in the corresponding months of 2019.
  • For the age group 13-18, in April 2020, claim lines for generalized anxiety disorder increased 93.6 percent as a percentage of all medical claim lines over April 2019, while major depressive disorder claim lines increased 83.9 percent and adjustment disorder claim lines 89.7 percent.
  • In general, the age group 19-22 had mental health trends similar to but less pronounced than the age group 13-18.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health, particularly on that of young people. The findings in our new report have implications for all those responsible for the care of young people, including providers, parents, educators, policy makers and payors.”

Robin Gelburd, President, FAIR Health

This is the seventh in a series of studies released by FAIR Health on the COVID-19 pandemic. The first study examined projected US costs for COVID-19 patients requiring inpatient stays, the second the impact of the pandemic on hospitals and health systems, the third the impact on healthcare professionals, the fourth key characteristics of COVID-19 patients, the fifth the impact on the dental industry and the sixth risk factors for COVID-19 mortality.

FAIR Health

Susie Meserve: Anxiety in the Pandemic

Anxiety is nothing new to Susie Meserve, but the pandemic has turned up the volume and unveiled new outlets for worry.

I’ve always had anxiety. As a child, I washed my hands until they bled. I was obsessed with safety, double checking the door lock, convincing myself I’d contracted some horrible disease. When COVID appeared, many people experienced what I have my entire life, and it was oddly comforting: handwashing was no longer a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder but a way to save a life. The idea of contracting a horrible disease wasn’t so crazy.

At first, COVID didn’t make me more anxious than before. Like many anxious people, I thrive on control: if I washed my hands, socially distanced, followed the rules — I could keep everyone safe. But the rules are murky, and as the months wear on, the daily decision‐making has become agonizing. Every attempt to socialize or school our children or grocery shop requires a fraught mental calculus: is this allowed? Is this safe?

I’ve even found myself intolerant of other people’s worry. I’m angry at those who don’t take the pandemic seriously, but I’m almost as annoyed with those who cluck and judge on social media, as though to prove they’re the most cautious. You’re just having anxiety, I want to tell them — this mantra has long been a trusted coping mechanism. But who am I kidding? We’re in a global pandemic. Our nation barely survived an attempted coup. Our kids haven’t been in school for a year and the new variants are here. Reality is more terrifying than anything a worried mind could conjure.

No: we can’t tell ourselves not to worry, but we can remember that we’re ALL trying to stay afloat in a deeply uncertain world. There is, I think, a small comfort there.

COVID-19 mental health: OCD sufferers talk of unique pandemic challenges

  •  Some people with Harm OCD are obsessively worrying they will hurt someone. 
  • Others with the contamination sub-type are receiving conflicting messages about washing their hands.
  • Experts also worry that people with OCD will struggle to re-assimilate back into society. 

Amid the mental health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, people with OCD are experiencing unique difficulties.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating mental health condition. Obsessions are the unwelcome thoughts that repeatedly appear in the mind, while compulsions are the repetitive activities done to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession.

According to the International OCD Foundation, between two to three million adults in the US currently have OCD and 500,000 children and teenagers. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) called OCD one of the top 10 most disabling illnesses by lost income and quality of life.

When 19-year-old Iowa college student, Shira Folberg, was 16, her OCD led to her medically withdrawing from high school.

She has had issues related to disordered eating, health-related anxiety, and moral scrupulosity, a form of OCD that causes an obsessive concern with whether one is being good or bad.

Folberg told Insider: “When Covid really hit, it was hard for me because I used to have a lot of compulsions where I would obsessively check to see if I had symptoms of different illnesses. 

“So when people first started coming out and saying these are the symptoms you should be watching out for, I would fixate on those things, and it would make me really anxious,” she continued.

“I would spend a lot of time checking to see if I had symptoms even though I would just stay at home all day and didn’t talk to anyone.”

Alison Dotson, President of OCD Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was diagnosed with the condition 15 years ago and has struggled with harm OCD amid COVID-19.

“For me, the fear of harming someone else is something I always worry about but it’s been heightened during the pandemic.”

‘Isolate and avoid people, places and things.’

The pandemic has led to 4 in 10 adults in the US reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression, an increase from the one in ten adults, according to research published by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale, Director of the McLean OCD Institute at Houston, said treating OCD people in the time of COVID was a challenge: “When you’re in the middle of treatment it’s don’t isolate, don’t avoid people, places or things. Well, what’s the world telling you right now? Isolate and avoid people, places, and things.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, Chief Medical Officer at the National Institute of Mental Illness (NAMI), told Insider: “We have certainly seen an increase of anxiety disorders at NAMI. There’s also been a big leap in people with germ phobias being provoked by COVID-19.”

Hand-washing to prevent the coronavirus’s spread is particularly tough for suffers from contamination OCD – a sub-type of the condition. After years of being told to stop washing their hands to control their condition, the new message to wash their hands to prevent COVID-19 can be mind-boggling.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

‘It’s a very illogical and irrational disorder’

As vaccination rollouts begin, restrictions are lifted, and the post-pandemic future beckons, experts worry that people with OCD will struggle to re-assimilate back into society. 

Dr. McIngvale said that while life will return to normal for many, OCD sufferers will face many hurdles: “They may still be stuck on worrying about the virus, worrying about another virus and worrying about if it’s actually gone or is if it’s still here.”

Folberg agreed: “It’s a very illogical and irrational disorder, so even if it is safe for people, I know a lot are really going to struggle to transition back to normalcy.”

Dr. Athanasios Hassoulas, Director of MSc Psychiatry at Cardiff University, Wales, has OCD and has written a paper on how people with OCD are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We need to have more support available and tailored approaches to the degree of the severity. We need to concentrate on the psychological impact of the pandemic and not leave it till the last minute,” he said. 

OCD Diagnosis: Tests, Screening, Criteria

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive, distressful thoughts and compulsive ritualistic behaviors—can be diagnosed by either a primary care provider or mental health professional.

Like most mental health conditions, there is no blood test or imaging study to confirm a diagnosis. However, decades of research have gone into many mental health conditions, and mental health professionals have acquired a lot of information so they can diagnose your condition as accurately as possible. 

An anxious senior woman sitting outdoors on a park bench while rubbing her index finger.

NicolasMcComber / Getty Images

At-Home Testing

In general, it’s not possible—or reasonable—to self-diagnose yourself. However, some online quizzes might offer you insight into the possibility of having OCD.

The current gold standard for diagnosing OCD is a questionnaire used by mental health professionals called the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). 

The Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS)

The Y-BOCS asks about:

  • The interference and distress obsessive thoughts and compulsions cause in your life.
  • Your level of control over obsessions and compulsions.

You can find a version of this questionnaire from the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation.

If you have an appointment scheduled, it may be beneficial to print this out, answer the questions, and show it to your health care provider.

While the Y-BOCS questionnaire is the gold standard, it is also quite in-depth and can seem overwhelming.

If you’re looking for a more straightforward online quiz, you might consider the one found on PsychCentral. The PsychCentral questions focus more on symptoms and less on severity. While this quiz may indicate you have OCD, it does not cover your OCD symptoms’ severity.

Please remember both these tools are simply that—tools. Only a trained medical professional can give you an official diagnosis and offer you treatment options. 

Professional Screenings

There are many ways you can go about seeking help and relief from obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Most people will start with their primary care provider, others may start by seeing a psychologist or other mental health professional. Neither way is wrong. 

Prescribing Physicians

It’s important to note that while psychologists and non-MD therapists are an excellent resource for those with OCD, they cannot prescribe any medications.

When you see your primary care provider or mental health professional, they will often ask why you think you may have OCD. They’ll be interested in learning what behaviors are causing you concern at this time.

Some questions you can expect to have your doctor ask—or fill out on a questionnaire—include:

  • How long have these behaviors been going on?
  • Do you do have these thoughts or do these behaviors all the time or only on occasion?
  • Is there anything you avoid because you are self-conscious of your behavior or because the thoughts are distressing?
  • On an average day, how much time do you spend thinking about or acting on your specific symptom?
  • Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?

Diagnostic Testing

While there is no blood test doctors use to check for OCD specifically, your health care provider might request lab work to ensure there isn’t an underlying medical issue that might be contributing to your symptoms or interfere with treatment.

Many times they’ll want to check your thyroid function, a complete blood count (CBC), and metabolic functions. 

Consider a Differential Diagnosis

OCD can be difficult to diagnose and your provider will go through all the possible options that can also present similarly to OCD. Other diagnosies that might overlap include:

  • Other anxiety disorders
  • TIC disorder or Tourette’s syndrome
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Eating disorders

Each of these disorders has its own criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5)—the book all mental health professionals use as a guide for diagnosing conditions.

The good thing to remember is any of these diagnoses are treatable. They can be challenging to live with, but specialists have learned a lot about OCD and the other mental health conditions mentioned above over the last few decades.

We now have multiple ways to treat each condition. If one method isn’t working for you, let your provider know until you find the right treatment option for you.

A Word From VeryWell

While living with OCD can be stressful, it feels more stressful to seek help for many. Many times people are afraid of being judged, ignored, under, or over-treated.

Your provider is focused on helping people through arduous, scary, and overwhelming moments in life. They don’t go into their chosen profession to judge or shame people, which is just one reason why you shouldn’t be afraid to hide alarming thoughts from them. They have the tools and resources to help you. 

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Short-Term Course of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

This article was originally published here

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2021 Feb 23. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001318. Online ahead of print.


There is an understandable concern that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may worsen during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are little empirical data. We report the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the short-term course of OCD. A cohort of patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD (n = 240) who were on regular follow-up at a tertiary care specialty OCD clinic in India were assessed telephonically, about 2 months after the declaration of the pandemic (“pandemic” cohort). Data from the medical records of an independent set of patients with OCD (n = 207) who were followed up during the same period, 1 year prior, was used for comparison (historical controls). The pandemic group and historical controls did not differ in the trajectories of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale scores (chi-square likelihood ratio test of the group × time interaction = 2.73, p = 0.255) and relapse rate (21% vs. 20%; adjusted odds ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.41-1.59; p = 0.535). Preexisting contamination symptoms and COVID-19-related health anxiety measured by the COVID-Threat Scale did not predict relapse. Only a small proportion of patients (6%) reported COVID-19-themed obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The COVID-19 pandemic, at least in the short run, did not influence the course of illness.

PMID:33625069 | DOI:10.1097/NMD.0000000000001318

Class aims to help those suffering from anxiety – Standard

SIKESTON A class at Bootheel Counseling Services aims to help those suffering from anxiety.

The four free 30-minute anxiety classes are held from 11-11:30 a.m. on Thursdays over Zoom.

The goal is to provide information to people to help them understand anxiety, said Anastasia Kinsey, a clinical therapist at BCS who leads the classes. The first class was completed on (Feb. 4) and it was about background information about anxiety. We talked about the definition of anxiety, difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder, different types of anxiety disorders and how anxiety can impact your life.

The second class was held Feb. 18 with a discussion on the cycle of anxiety and goals and treatment for anxiety.

The next class is set for Thursday at 11 a.m.

It is going to be about the importance of a self-care plan and boundaries to help lessen anxiety symptoms, Kinsey said. It will also help inform people about how to help develop their own self-care plan.

The final class will be March 4 and will discuss specific treatments for anxiety like breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, imagery and mindfulness.

Kinsey said a lot of people suffer from anxiety, but that doesnt mean that they have an anxiety disorder.

According to the DSM-5 (book that we use to diagnosis different disorders), a persons anxiety has to impact the way that they function. To be classified as an anxiety disorder, the person has to be dealing with excessive anxiety for at least six months and it has to disrupt their functioning at school, work, home, relationships, etc.

Kinsey said there are different types of anxiety disorders: panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety and social anxiety.

I have seen an increase specifically of agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorders since COVID-19, Kinsey said. A lot of people report that they have excessive worry about what is going to happen if they leave their house. Specifically, they have fears that if they leave home they will get the virus or give it to someone else. A lot of people arent getting any face-to-face social interactions.

The class is free and anyone can attend. To join the class at:

Meeting ID: 930 4233 8114. Passcode: 767332.

Therapy for OCD: Treatment, Medication, Cost

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy addresses the underlying fears of both obsessions and compulsions. Early in your therapy sessions, your therapist will educate you about OCD and equip you with skills you can use to reduce anxiety.

Your therapist will also help you identify the situations and events that trigger obsessive thoughts and anxiety. They’ll help you figure out whether these events are related to people, things, places, feelings, or sensory stimuli, such as smells or sounds.

Your therapist will usually give you an opportunity to describe the actions you feel compelled to perform and how these compulsions are related to the fears you feel. Once you’ve identified your triggers, your therapist will help you rank them according to how upsetting they are.

Over time, you and your therapist will gradually confront each of your fears, starting with the least upsetting. This will allow you to practice calming yourself with the skills you’ve learned.

The goal is for you to be able to reduce your anxiety on your own which, in turn, may help lessen the need for rituals and compulsions to ease your fear.

Not everyone who starts a course of ERP sticks to it. But for those who do, research shows that ERP can be a very effective method of breaking the connection between obsessive thoughts and compulsions.

Breaking Down OCD, Once and For All

When news of the coronavirus outbreak first broke, I did what everyone else at the time was doing: spreading awareness on social media out of a sense of responsibility as a global citizen.

I reposted official statements on the exponentially rising numbers of those infected and affected, and economic and social forecasts. I didn’t realise for a very long time the toll the statistics were taking on me, on my mental health, and more specifically, on my OCD.

Before you roll your eyes at the mention of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD, since you may not think it’s really a disease, read on for a testimony from someone who has OCD.

OCD can be identified as an anxiety disorder, characterised primarily by anxiety-producing obsessions and anxiety-reducing compulsions. Think of it as a junkie chasing a high, only as a circle without a beginning. The compulsions of an OCD-ridden person can feel akin to a junkie’s abnormally high tolerance levels for drugs, with the obsessions bearing a similarity to their desperate craving for a high. OCD works as both the insatiable beast and the nearest available prey. A snake incessantly chasing its own tail, an ouroboros from Hell, which knows no rest.

Most people diagnosed with OCD tend to wash their hands a lot. While it’s a common symptom, reasons for doing so can differ. I wash my hands in an effort to peel off imperfections. It calms me, despite not being a healthy coping mechanism. During the coronavirus outbreak, I convinced myself that I should wash my hands even more so as to wash away the virus molecules along with the imperfections. Two birds with one stone. The frequency at which I scrubbed my hands rose exponentially with the rising numbers of infections. It wasn’t until my skin began to dry out to the point of me developing a nasty rash that I came to my senses.

Sometime back, a teacher said my excellent organisational skills and strong determination levels should be credited to my OCD. It took every ounce of the resolution I possessed to not yell at him for being so unabashedly ignorant about a mental health disorder. My OCD doesn’t help me get my life in order, it helps to wreck it instead.

Leaving aside the frequent hand-washing factor, OCD symptoms can vary from person to person. Mine involve nightmarish thoughts of mindless overconsumption and an inexplicable demand for physical equality throughout my body. I associate the idea of overconsumption with gluttony and remind myself that I must not contribute to it, so I refrain from eating and purge whenever I eat. When I’m nervous, both my hands need to feel sweaty and clammy the same way. If I injure a body part, say one of my elbows, I require my other elbow to feel just as painful. So no, no flawless organization happening there.

Please understand, there is a major difference between being a perfectionist and actually having OCD. One is a state of mind, the other is a disease. It’d be nice if everyone’s attitude towards people suffering from OCD and other mental health disorders, was more empathetic rather than sceptical.

Rasha Jameel is an overzealous Ravenclaw who often draws inspiration from mundane things such as memes. Send her your memespirational thoughts at

HOCD: Definition, symptoms, treatment, and more

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HOCD is a form of OCD. OCD is a mental health condition that can cause a person to have intrusive and reoccurring thoughts and images, as well as feel compelled to repeat specific behaviors.

A person who has OCD may feel extreme distress or upset due to these repeated thoughts or compulsions. However, they may be unable to prevent them from occurring.

A person experiencing SO-OCD may find that they are unable to prevent certain thoughts or behaviors that focus on their sexuality.

With this condition, a person who is heterosexual may have fears that they are attracted the members of the same sex.

However, it is important to note that this form of OCD is not limited to those who are heterosexual. A person who experiences same-sex attraction can have intrusive thoughts that cause them to fear that they are in denial about being heterosexual.

These thoughts can be distressing, as a person’s sexual orientation can be an important part of their identity.

Those who experience this form of OCD are typically concerned about losing their identity and living an inauthentic life. It does not mean that they have negative views toward those who have sexual orientations that differ from their own.

A study from 2015 found that 11.9% of people who seek treatment for OCD experience HOCD.

Study Says Cannabis Can Help Treat OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) impacts about 3 percent of the world’s population. Those diagnosed with the condition experience repetitive behavior and intrusive thoughts, often driven by a host of unreasonable fears.

OCD also can manifest in certain actions, such as leaving the house, entering a room, or touching objects in a specific order and always in the same way. It may also lead people to arrange objects in specific patterns.

It’s a challenging condition to live with, especially in the most severe cases. But a recent study may have found help for those with OCD: cannabis and CBD, the chemical component in cannabis already linked to many different health benefits.

RELATED: Can Cannabis Help My Obsessive Thoughts?


Study: Cannabis has a significant impact on OCD

A new study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that OCD patients who used CBD saw significant drops in many common OCD symptoms. Those numbers included:

  • A 60 percent reduction in compulsions
  • A 49 percent reduction in intrusive thoughts
  • A 52 percent reduction in anxiety from before to after inhaling cannabis

The researchers analyzed self-reported data from 87 people with OCD. Each patient tracked the severity of their intrusions, compulsions, and anxiety immediately before and after 1,810 cannabis use sessions over 31 months. 

The researchers concluded that “inhaled cannabis appears to have short-term beneficial effects on symptoms of OCD. However, tolerance to the effects on intrusions may develop over time.” They noted smaller reductions in the number of intrusions over time after study participants had been using cannabis for many months.

RELATED: Medical Cannabis Combats Anorexia’s Obsessive Thoughts

Other studies have focused on CBD 

Other case studies have focused on the impact of CBD on OCD. An overview of these studies published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research proposed that the use of CBD is worth pursuing because of the role the endocannabinoid system plays in regulating anxiety, fear, and repetitive behaviors. 

Because users report that cannabis and CBD help relieve anxiety and fear, the researchers wrote that this suggests “that the endocannabinoid system could be a potential target for novel medications for OCD.”

They concluded that while preliminary, “The available clinical data indicate that cannabinoids influence OCD-relevant processes, impacting anxiety symptoms, enhancing fear extinction, and reducing certain repetitive behaviors. To date, only case reports detail how cannabinoids affect OCD symptoms specifically, although the effects reported are promising.”

According to Healthline, there are no official recommendations on dosage or the exact combination of CBD and THC that might have the most impact on OCD. Some studies suggest a combination of CBD and terpenes could have the most significant impact. Early research has also shown that the amount of CBD patients take seems more important than the form in which they take it.

While further research is needed, finding a way to treat OCD with cannabis and CBD would create an important new treatment option for those diagnosed with the disorder and a new niche in the growing cannabis market.

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