Nationwide Study Reveals OCD is Among Top Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders in Singapore are on the rise, but the number of people receiving help is falling...
Singapore’s mental health results are in. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ranks third on the most prevalent mental health conditions in Singapore. Yet why do people suffering from the disorder delay seeking OCD treatment Singapore?
A nationwide study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) revealed one in 28 people will suffer from OCD in their lifetime.
6,126 people responded to the national surveys. The findings, released on Dec, 11, also showed people aged 18 to 34 were more likely to have the condition compared to those aged 50 and above. Meanwhile, 1 in 16 adults aged 18-34 would suffer from major depressive disorder. And 1 in 24 adults would suffer from alcohol abuse.
Also, monthly household income was an indicator of the likelihood of having OCD. People with a monthly income of S$2,000 were more likely to have the condition than those earning between S$2,000 to S$3,999.
But does the average parent know what OCD is?
OCD treatments in Singapore: What is OCD?
When many people think of OCD, they often think it involves not being able to stand imperfection. This might look like items placed out of position or things being asymmetrical.
In fact, many take pride in having the disorder to reflect a superior standard of self-discipline. But OCD goes much deeper than that and can be highly distressing, depending on the severity.
According to IMH’s Professor Chong Siow Ann, OCD is a fear of contamination which can manifest in excessive washing. WebMD elaborates that OCD means having compulsive thoughts and actions that are beyond our control.
Dr Chong elaborates that it results in “tremendous impairment” to someone’s ability to function normally.
With people using the disorder in such liberal fashion, this contributes to the stigma around the mental health disorder. But only major depressive disorder and alcohol abuse ranked higher than OCD in Singapore. These findings indicate that we can’t afford to ignore the signs and need to take better care of our wellbeing.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
Are you able to recognise the symptoms of OCD?
They can be mild, which means the disorder can go undetected for longer.
Obsessive thoughts that pop in and out of your mind could include:
- Fear of germs or getting dirty
- Worries about getting hurt or others being hurt
- Need for things to be placed in an exact order
- Belief that certain numbers or colours are “good” or “bad”
- Constant awareness of blinking, breathing, or other body sensations
- Unfounded suspicion that a partner is unfaithful
And compulsive actions that are controllable often look like this:
- Washing hands many times in a row
- Doing tasks in a specific order every time, or a certain “good” number of times
- Repetitive checking on a locked door, light switch, and other things
- Need to count things, like steps or bottles
- Putting items in an exact order, like cans with labels facing front
- Fear of touching doorknobs, using public toilets, or shaking hands
Associate Professor Mythily Subramaniam advised it can look like someone showering for two hours.
Because this type of behaviour doesn’t manifest immediately, the median number of years for an OCD sufferer in Singapore to get help was 11 years. This is much longer than other disorders like alcohol abuse, with the median number of years being four years.
But OCD cannot be ignored. The prevalence of the disorder in the past year was higher in Singapore compared to South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
If you believe you might have OCD, what can you do?
OCD treatment options in Singapore
Adults suffering from a mental health condition in Singapore have increased since the last major nationwide study in 2010. Furthermore, despite the prevalence of mental health disorders, over three-quarters of people with a mental health disorder didn’t reach out for professional support.
It’s important to take care of your mental health. If left unchecked, it can seriously affect your daily life and even affect your children.
If you believe you or your spouse might be suffering from OCD, here are some things to consider.
- Not all people with mental health concerns show outward signs. Sometimes mental health can be silent, but the effects are just as devastating.
- Neglecting your mental health can cause an inability to care for your child. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your little one.
- If you believe that your spouse has mental health concerns, don’t be afraid to reach out. Make them feel that you’re there for them and that you’re not afraid. It is important that your spouse feels that you do not despise their condition.
- Seeking help is important. You shouldn’t believe that only you can solve your problems. Never forget that you have a family that loves you, cares for you, and supports you.
- Don’t take it out on your children. Your children aren’t able to fully understand your problems and concerns yet, so don’t take out your frustrations on them. After all, they’re young and have a lot to learn. Instead, focus on what steps you can take in order to help you cope with your problems.
- Know that you will be better. There are ways to deal with mental health concerns, and struggling with mental health doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to have a normal, healthy life.
For further resources or if you have further questions, visit the following sites to get support for mental health issues.
- National Council of Social Services Singapore
- Mental health directory of services in Singapore
- Singapore Association of Mental Health
- Psychiatry services in Singapore
Free and Affordable Mental Healthcare in Singapore
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