Comments on
Are There Benefits to OCD?

About 2.3 percent of the people in the U.S. have OCD and related disorders like hoarding disorder, body dysmorphic disorder and trichotillomania/dermatillomania.

Add in anxiety disorders, from generalized anxiety and social anxiety to PTSD,

3 thoughts on “Are There Benefits to OCD?

  • January 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    As a fellow OCD person, I sympathize with your suffering.
    But I can’t sympathize with your pseudoscientific theories, presented as if they were undisputed facts. Yes, it is not the first time I have read of this supposedly evolutionary causes for the condition. The theory does have its appeal, I concur. Somehow it makes us feel better. As do all the neurobiological and chemical imbalance theories that abound. But presenting this evolutionary trait as a fact is frankly an act of pure fallacy. I am sorry if my words are too harsh, but let us call things by their names. I am not a huge fan of political correctness.
    If it were true that OCD has evolutionary explanations, why would this trait manifest itself in only 2.3% of the U.S. population? if this disease gave a certain evolutionary advantage to its sufferers, vis-a-vis non-OCD populations, during hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, wouldn’t it be a dominant trait, present today in most members of our species?

    • January 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Almost all humans have some level of normal anxiety, and about 18 percent in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder in any given year — a lot more than just the 2.3% with OCD. Evolution almost certainly favored people who were at least a little anxious and cautious about their surroundings. That doesn’t mean people with anxiety disorders were somehow “fitter” in an evolutionary sense, because there are a lot of different factors that go into survival, but it may certainly explain why some level of anxiety is a normal part of being human, and why in so many people — again, 18 percent, not 2.3 — it can go haywire.

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I find that OCD does have its benefits: sharp memory, made sharper by obsessive attention to detail. Long, real relationships, because letting go is extremely hard; this also means I don’t give up and am loyal. Being neat and clean is always a good thing. And organized. Most people tell me they wish they were that way. These are just side effects, of course. As to the unwanted thoughts, anxiety, and depression, I can’t see any good in these. But we deal.


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