Coping with OCD during the COVID-19 outbreak

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What is Covid-19 and how serious is it?

Coronavirus disease 2019, or "COVID-19," is an infection caused by a specific virus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus first appeared in late 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. But it has spread quickly since then, and there are now cases in many other places, including Europe and the United States.

What is Covid-19 and how serious is it?

With emerging research showing that most people are at low risk of being impacted by COVID-19, these guidelines are mainly meant to help protect communities in general and especially the vulnerable people among us (such as the elderly and/or those with pre-existing health conditions). Experts are recommending increased personal hygiene and decreased social contact not because we are all at a higher risk, but because by doing so we can help protect our communities and slow down the spread of COVID-19.

It can be scary for us all to think about changing our lives in the face of a new virus. For people in the OCD and related disorders community especially, these guidelines might cause extra concern, anxiety, and/or uncertainty. A lot of the guidelines aren’t specific or definitive, leaving a lot of space for OCD fears and behaviors to take over.

For those living with OCD, regardless of symptom subtype, the current situation may be worsening or intensifying your symptoms. For people in treatment, the guidelines might feel contrary to what you have been working on with your treatment team. How can we balance what’s recommended for our mental health with what’s recommended for public health?

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