'Girls' Star Lena Dunham Says She Has OCD but What Does That REALLY Mean?

Lena DunhamI've only recently gotten into Girls on HBO, but I think it's safe to say that I'm now a definite fan. I have this wacky fascination with Lena Dunham, who both plays the main character Hannah and directs the show, and the way her mind works. On last night's episode "It's Back", Lena's character reveals she has OCD, which comes out during times of extreme stress, in other words, right now as she's working on her first ebook deal.

An interesting development for Dunham's character, considering she herself told Rolling Stone that she was diagnosed with OCD when she was younger. Because of her disorder, she would count things eight times, make sure no one was following her walking down the street, and touch different parts of her bed every night before going to sleep.

Sure, I've joked with friends before about being so "totally OCD" about the way I keep my room. But all this makes me wonder what having OCD really entails. Check out our 5 key facts to know about OCD, here:

1. Millions of people have OCD: It's estimated that about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the U.S. have the disorder.

2. There is no ONE cause of OCD: OCD is believed to be a result of a combination of genetic, behavioral, cognitive, environmental, and neurobiological factors and how they all relate at any particular point in time.

3. OCD commonly involves rituals: Rituals are compulsions that those affected with OCD commonly do in an attempt to relieve the anxiety caused by their obsessions. For example, a person with OCD may not be able to leave the house without checking that their straightening iron is off at least six times. Often, these rituals are noticeable to friends, family, and other bystanders.

4. No lab test can diagnose OCD: However, there is a self-screening test you can take at home.

5. There are a few treatments: There is no cure for the disorder, but there are treatments. The primary treatment for OCD is cognitive behavior therapy with a trained therapist. Generally, it's suggested that this therapy be combined with appropriate medication to ease anxiety including antidepressants. 

Do you or someone you know deal with OCD?


Image via david_shankbone/Flickr

mental health


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CPN322 CPN322

What you forgot is that being OCD does not just entail rituals. There is also being mentally obsessive(I, for example, obsess over pretty much ever human interaction I have especially if said interaction didn't go well; that is only one example). I'm not sure if everyone that has OCD has both because I personally don't have rituals per say just weird things I do besides having obsessive thoughts.

Aeris... AerisKate

CPN, my OCD is more about obsessions than rituals also.  I can't say that I have any rituals currently although I have in the past.  And no, rituals aren't always doing something over and over again many times.  It can be just needing to call your parents each night or you can't go to sleep, etc.  Or it could be needing things to be equal.  For example, if you scratch your right foot, you have to scratch your left foot also just so it is equal (or you feel anxiety).  I would say that the rituals are more played out on t.v. than anything else.  A HUGE portion of OCD (like CPN said) is the obsessions.  Those are not always obvious to others.  The obsessions could be personal interactions, germs, diseases, fears of death, etc.  Also, the obsessions could lead to behaviors (not necessarily rituals) that you do or don't do.  Example: fear of germs may lead to washing hands a lot during the day and it could also lead to not eating certain foods or not touching certain things (like shoes because of the dirt factor). 

nonmember avatar Amanda

No! 1000x no! You should never try to self diagnose yourself, especially with a mental illness! Go see a health care professional if you suspect any type of personality disorder. God, as a psychology major this really bugs the CRAP out of me.

jessi... jessicasmom1

Yes .. Friend has this he moves things constantly ... 

ceciliam ceciliam

I don't think i know anyone with true, OCD.

sukainah sukainah

I have a friend who has to knock on his door and check his doorknob 100 times before he feels safe enough that the door is locked. I'd say that's OCD

Aeris... AerisKate

Thanks, PRIMA! Amanda, I have been to a psychiatrist that specializes in prenatal OCD, since that is when mine started to interfer with my daily life.  Who said anybody self diagnosed? 

slw123 slw123

I have an aunt that is truly OCD.

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