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Debunking the myths of OCD - Natascha M. Santos

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  • 22,895 Questions Answered
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There’s a common misconception that if you like to meticulously organize your things, keep your hands clean, or plan out your weekend to the last detail, you might be OCD. In fact, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a serious psychiatric condition that is frequently misunderstood by society and mental health professionals alike. Natascha M. Santos debunks the myths surrounding OCD.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Dr. Natascha M. Santos
  • Producer Zedem Media
  • Artist Constantinos Hadjidemetri
  • Director Michael Kalopaidis
  • Animator Maria Savva, Andria Pourouti
  • Sound Designer Andreas Trachonitis
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
Additional Resources for you to Explore
OCD is a complex disorder. While the causes of OCD remain unknown, there are a host of resources available for families and professionals to learn more about this complex disorder. For example, the International OCD Foundation website has a plethora of resources available including a directory of professionals who specialize in OCD as well as support groups for individuals and families. The video gallery at Beyond OCD’s website has a number of experts discussing various issues related to the disorder. Watch and listen for some expert opinions on OCD.

Given that OCD tends to be highly comorbid with other anxiety disorders, the Anxiety and Depression Association of American website also offers a wealth of information and resources including podcasts and fact sheets on a number of anxiety disorders and treatment options available. For example, here is a podcast on Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Psychopharmacology for OCD. Listen and learn! You can also check out Natascha Santos’ blog (the educator who wrote this lesson!) for additional resources. Interested in listening to an interview with this educator? Go to eHealth Radio which includes several interviews with Dr. Santos on anxiety disorders including OCD.

Think you may have OCD? Try taking this screening quiz. Lastly, here is a list of online OCD resources that may provide more insight into this disorder and answer some of your questions.
Avatar for Pia Kate M.
Pia Kate M. • Vukovar, Croatia • LESSON IN PROGRESS
I find this plausible from my own family experience, considering I researched this quite a bit, and almost every (female) member from my dads family shows the symptoms (his mom, his mothers sisters and their daughters and granddaughters, his mothers mother... Even my sister, and ultimately, me!), though not one of them has ever, to my knowledge, been treated. Is there a study somewhere I could take a look at? Thanks for a great video ;)
05/23/2015 • 
 20 Responses
 / 20 Updates
Avatar for Samuel Creighton
It was good to have come across this video, being one that explains a lot in simple terms, said well in only a short amount of time. For me, the most interesting and personally gratifying part of it, was the clarification that it really is quite broad and diverse, rather than a simple disorder that has a treatment plan that can "fix" all. I suffered horribly with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for a three year period in my early twenties and can recall the horrors of it easily as I remember how paralysed I was by anxiety and how I was so overwhelmed with simply being alive as I was completely lost as to how overcome what I was feeling, that I believe my symptoms grew from trying to ensure, nothing else could possibly go wrong.
05/21/2015 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for Natascha Santos
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective form of treatment for individuals with OCD. We weren't able to focus as much on it in the video but let's discuss it here! CBT, specifically exposure and response prevention (ERP) is recommended before any other intervention. Exposure & response prevention involves individuals confronting or "exposing" themselves to the intrusive thoughts or situations that trigger anxiety & then refraining from performing the compulsion. Medications as an adjunct to ERP are also common &effective approaches. The more invasive interventions such as those mentioned in the video, i.e.neurosurgery, deep brain stimulation, etc. are last resort options for severe OCD that is treatment resistant.
05/20/2015 • 
 5 Responses
 / 5 Updates
Avatar for Dori Angelova
Dori Angelova • Bourgas, Bulgaria • LESSON IN PROGRESS
Hello, I think that you presented only the physical part of the disease. Actually it is more associated with the psychological one and most of the times treatable without medications. I believe that it is really important to educate the world more on this topic since many of us still ignore it. Best Regards, Dori
05/20/2015 • 
 3 Responses
 / 3 Updates
Avatar for kara swansom
10/13/2020 • 
 3 Responses
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Avatar for Madeline Florio
05/25/2022 • 
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Avatar for Laila H
I didn't know that we don't really know what causes OCD. Learning that helps me realize just how difficult it must be not to know what caused OCD if you have it.
06/02/2022 • 
 0 Responses
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Dr. Natascha M. Santos
  • Producer Zedem Media
  • Artist Constantinos Hadjidemetri
  • Director Michael Kalopaidis
  • Animator Maria Savva, Andria Pourouti
  • Sound Designer Andreas Trachonitis
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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