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I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago and then forgot it. They got my job wrong (I’m a psychiatrist not a psychologist — They got that wrong.) I forgot that they talked to me for 30 minutes until a colleague said I was quoted in the university bulletin. Anyway, from Stuff.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a serious illness that society has made fashionable, says an Otago University psychologist.

The newfound “popularity” of OCD had led to people “pulling out the textbook and ticking their symptoms off”, according to senior lecturer Chris Gale, who specialises in anxiety disorders.

“The Americans are in the habit of diagnosing everything and everyone, but we don’t actually need to medicate everything.”

He said it was of growing concern that people made light of OCD and compared a few individual quirks to a debilitating illness that can stop people functioning.

“The key thing to measure is the threshold for treatment, and to actually have a disorder it has to be making your life a misery.”

The Phobic Trust, which supports and treats people with anxiety disorders, was also concerned about how “loosely” some people used the illness to describe their own behaviours.

“It’s important that people with certain traits, such as liking things clean or ordered, are not necessarily confused with people who genuinely suffer from OCD,” a spokeswoman said.

Those at the extreme end had their day-to-day lives constantly interrupted. “For those who have severe OCD, it would be very hard to hold down a job or just function in life.

“Leaving the house and getting things done would be extremely difficult.”

For some OCD sufferers, their illness carried a real stigma that made it difficult to confide in friends and family.

“Some of the people we see are very secretive about it and, although we encourage them to tell their family, many choose not to disclose it,” she said.

Psychologists have yet to find middle ground on an approp- riate threshold for treating and medicating OCD, from which about 3 per cent of the population suffers.

OCD is an anxiety disorder causing unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, obsessions or behaviours that make the sufferer feel driven to do certain things.

“Sometimes it might be an experience that triggered it but for others it’s brain wiring,” the spokeswoman said.

“There are also cases where there is a genetic predisposition, and more than one person in the family has it.”

I think the Phobic Trust do a very good job with the people they can help. There is some funding for psychotherapies in New Zealand primary health care and in specialist care, but quite limited private funding. So we need our NGOs to work with people.

[Note: I work for a university and a hospital. This is not my professional blog — that is here. I do not have a private practice. So I will delete any treatment questions in the combox}.

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