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

Health Check 23

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