3 Tips for Talking to Someone About Their Misuse of ‘OCD’

How should you confront family, friends or strangers when they are using "OCD" incorrectly?

Key Takeaways:
  • This article was originally published on The Mighty on February 24th, 2017.
  • In it, Morgan Rondinelli outlines how you should address people who use "OCD" in casual conversation as a means of explaining organized or repetitive behavior.
  • Remember that no matter how awkward these kinds of conversations can be, you’ve at least planted a seed in someone's mind who otherwise might never have realized their fault.

To read this article on The Mighty, head here, and for additional OCD resources, check out The Mighty’s OCD page

This semester of college I am taking a seminar called “Teaching College Science.” Each class, we discuss a research paper about education or learning techniques. Since I am a teaching assistant in an introductory Biology class this semester and hope to be a professor one day, I am really enjoying the class.

One week we were discussing note-taking strategies and the most effective methods for studying from your notes. Everything was going as usual, right up until someone discussed their personal note-taking habits and started to say “it.” And by “it,” I mean something related to being organized and color-coordinated.

After years of hearing them used together, anytime someone says this, I brace myself for what is likely coming: “I’m soooo OCD.”

“I’m so OCD” doesn’t always follow a comment about being organized, but talking about being organized usually comes before an “I’m soooo OCD.” And this time it did. My classmate said, “I take notes like an OCD freak.”

Now I’ve heard a lot of people misuse the term obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) over the years, but calling us all freaks?