Portland News

How COVID-19 Triggers Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

People who are diagnose with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are set to become bad due to the coronavirus pandemic threat. Experts have found out that people who are diagnose with OCD will worsen due to the pandemic threat. OCD usually manifest uneasiness and uncertainty thoughts to repeatedly perform certain tasks such as compulsive. Cleaning and accomplish things again and again.

 A recent KFF poll found that about 4 in 10 adults say. However stress from the coronavirus negatively affected their mental health. Which causes them a lot of dilemmas and stress. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF, the Kaiser Family Foundation.) 

One brave soul, Chris Trondsen, 38, shared his battle with OCD. Trondsen is a therapist who shared his manifestations of obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders. According to him, he frequently washing his hands and experiencing tightness in his chest. Because of anxiety—something he hadn’t felt in so long and decided to consult a specialist.  He was diagnose with OCD and successfully won, and he feel his life finally in control. It’s been a tough and long ride for Trondsen. Who has battled obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other mental health issues since he was young.

“I’ve been doing well,” Trondsen said. “I felt like most of it was pretty much—I wouldn’t say ‘cured’—but I felt in remission or under control. But this pandemic has been difficult for me.”

“I definitely am needing therapy,” Trondsen said. “I realized that even if it’s not specifically to relearn tools for the disorders … it’s more so for my mental well-being.” He add.

Another brave soul shared her battle with OCD. Debbie, 35 from New York City, is stepping on the same ground as Chris. According to her really, she is terrify of elevators in her building; the reason why she doesn’t want to leave her apartment. She also struggles with this mental health issue. She also shared how teletherapy helped her to overcome OCD.

OCD Therapy

 “I never want to go back to being in a therapist’s office,” Carli say. “Therapy is uncomfortable for a lot of people, including me. And to be able to be on my turf makes me feel a little more powerful.”

The director of the McLean OCD Institute in Houston, Elizabeth McIngvale, said she had noticed patients struggling with OCD differently. She responds that whereas guidelines such as hand-washing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are generally easily accomplished, OCD compulsions are usually never satisfied.

 “It’s just a part of my life and how I maintain my progress,” McIngvale said.

However, she later found out that she’s getting paranoid over having symptoms of the virus. But she was able to redeem herself through treatment. 

“The pandemic, in general, was a new experience for everybody, but for me, feeling anxiety and feeling uncomfortable wasn’t new,” McIngvale say.

“OCD patients are resilient,” she add. Treatment is based on “leaning into uncertainty and so we’ve also seen patients who are far along in their treatment during this time be able to manage well and teach others how to live with uncertainty and with anxiety.”

Natalia Smith, 48, a sales representative from Phoenix, suffers from agoraphobia (fear of places or situations that might cause panic) and post-traumatic stress disorder. Smith consulted a therapist several times but now takes medication at her home through meditation. 

Government Protocol

When the government heighten the lockdown and social distancing protocol, she does not worry too much because she’s use to sanitizing frequently and she doesn’t mind staying home. Instead, she has felt her symptoms worsening as her home no longer felt like a safe space, and her fears of fatal contamination heightened.

“The world feels germier than normal and anyone who leaves this house is subject to a barrage of questions when they return,” Sparrow wrote in an email.

Patrick McGrath, a psychologist and head of clinical services at NOCD, the telehealth platform Carli uses, said he’s found that teletherapy with his patients is also beneficial because it allows him to better understand “how their OCD is interfering in their day-to-day life.”

Trondsen hopes the pandemic will bring increased awareness of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and related disorders. Occasionally, he’s feel that his troubles during this pandemic have been dismiss or loop into the general stress everyone is feeling.

“I think that there needs to be a better understanding of how intense this is for people with OCD,” he say.

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.