Around three quarters of a million people are thought to be living with debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
OCD is not a quirk or just liking being clean. It’s a life-impacting disorder that can cause intense mental distress.
It’s also not an abbreviation to describe really, really liking Christmas.
And yet that hasn’t stopped multiple retailers selling products printed with ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’.
Search ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’ and you’ll find products emblazoned with the phrase on Zazzle, Redbubble, and countless Etsy sellers.
This time around it’s Boohoo facing backlash, after campaigners drew attention to their festive set of ‘OCD’ pyjamas.
The pyjama set, on sale for £17, have OCD written on the top with ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’ underneath. The ‘o’ in obsessive is Rudolph’s red nose, complete with a pair of antlers.
At the time of writing, the pyjamas remain available on the Boohoo site.
Olivia Bamber, the Youth Service and Communications Manager of OCD Action, said: ‘Products which mock or trivialise OCD add to these misconceptions and can stop people who are genuinely affected by the condition seeking help, often due to a fear that they will not be taken seriously.
‘It’s important that we challenge these trivialising products, even though their intention is not to cause any distress or offense.
‘OCD Action welcomes conversations with organisations and is happy to help educate them about how they can contribute positively to people’s understanding of this debilitating mental health condition.’
OCD-UK contacted Boohoo about the product and say they were advised the retailer would review whether or not to remove it from sale.
Meanwhile on Twitter, people are criticising the ‘obsessive Christmas disorder’ joke that keeps popping up.
Ashley Fulwood, chief executive of OCD-UK, said this isn’t the first time they’ve had to battle offensive products.
Ashley said: ‘There are two issues – one is that it trivialises it and the second is that it fuels these misconceptions of OCD being something quirky. It fails to recognize that the ‘D’ in OCD stands for disorder.
‘It’s not just a case of us being easily offended. People fail to realise how severe it can be. It destroys lives, relationships, careers and sadly we have tragic consequences of people taking their own lives.’
Boohoo has said they are investigating the issue. We reached out to them for further comment, but haven’t heard back yet.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
Obsessive compulsive disorder usually follows a particular pattern: obsession, anxiety, and compulsion.
An obsession is when an unwanted, intrusive, and often distressing thought, image or urge repeatedly enters your mind. This causes intense anxiety, which someone with OCD will try to deal with by performing a compulsion; a repetitive behaviour or mental act that temporarily relieves the anxiety.
Most people will have intrusive thoughts, but if they are persistent to the point that they dominate your thinking, that’s an obsession.
Common types of obsession are fear of harming yourself or others, fear of contamination, or a need for orderliness.
Common compulsions include cleaning, checking, counting, ordering, hoarding, repeating words in your head, avoiding places or things that could trigger obsessive thoughts, and asking for reassurance.