It's estimated that more than 3 million people in this country suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder.
It's a brain disorder triggered by fear. The OCD Foundation describes it like this: the warning system in your brain gets stuck on one sign of danger... that's not really there.
Just as the diagnosis is becoming so common, so are conventions to bring awareness to the problem. The most recent convention is this one in San Diego. One thing the group learned here is that hiding OCD is not the answer.
Emily Hawling told the group, "Throughout my life, I had issues with washing my hands or contamination. I definitely have been through a terrible spot with my OCD and I have come through that. So there's definitely hope. You can do it. You can make it through."
Alissa Walker, another OCD patient, said "I think I was officially diagnosed in third grade, but i hid it from my parents for years. It's not worth it. Seek help. Life is so much better. You can't imagine how much better life is without OCD crippling everyday life."
The OCD Foundation says the symptoms first spike during adolescence, possibly related to the onset of puberty, Then, they spike again between age 18 and 20. If you would like to know more about obsessive compulsive disorder and the treatments available, go to http://www.ocfoundation.org/whatisocd.aspx?gclid=CM6Z8-KxtKoCFWZ_5goddEQ00A