Does OCD go away?

Although I do know of a few cases where the OC seemed to be almost miraculously healed, OCD is almost always a lifelong disorder; however, if you learn how to put it under your heel, it is very manageable.

(Wow, I never, ever would have guessed that I would be able to say something like that.  I feel so unbelievably grateful that I can.)

This week, I was the guest speaker for an Abnormal Psychology class at the university where I am blessed to work.  The professor is a Facebook friend of mine and therefore knows that I’m very upfront about my OCD, so she asked if I’d be willing to come share with the students in her class.  She kindly allowed me to share for as long as I wanted in any format I wanted (a public speaker’s dream!).

I made a list of topics I wanted to touch on, and the list was LONG!  From my own personal story to common myths that need debunking, from OCD themes to effective treatment options, I filled the whole class period.  The students were wonderful; they stayed engaged and asked excellent questions (many of them were freshmen who are future therapists), and they were so respectful.  (I love Northwestern students so much!)

When I started to share what life was like with OCD, a true statement came boldly from my lips: “OCD is slavery,” I said, and I could feel myself starting to get emotional as I remembered the imprisonment, the guilt, the terror.  I don’t know why it surprised me to find that those awful memories would still nearly bring me to tears.

So, does OCD go away?

Yes– for a very, very small few.
Not really, but sort of– for those of us who have used CBT to master the disorder.
But then again, no– years of battle leave real scars.


Photo: Tuana Art,

7 thoughts on “Does OCD go away?

  1. I was told (by my therapist) that it’s something you learn to live with every day. I take medication and am in therapy (unfortunately, not CBT, sometimes I do exposures on my own) for it. My OCD is now under control, but when I’m stressed I tend to give in to compulsive urges more.

    • Yes, that is true in a way. I will say, however, that after my successful CBT, I actually didn’t really have obsessions or compulsions for about a year/year and a half. Even now, it’s not a daily struggle for me … I only have “episodes” a couple times a year. Good work on doing your own exposures … it’s the very best treatment for OCD, better than medication and waaaaay better than talk therapy (which often at best does nothing and at worst is enabling). If your OCD gets out of control again, make a beeline for CBT! 🙂

      • Thanks! I can relate with what you wrote, I get occasional obsessions and compulsions and, when I do, they are manageable. Unfortunately, I’m unemployed and can’t afford CBT (I’m in Italy and it is done only privately, it costs more), but my therapist told me not to do any compulsive behaviors in response to an obsession, and it worked!

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