OCD Awareness Week: How Howie Mandel Manages His OCD

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Howie Mandel, the famous comedian and “America’s Got Talent” judge, is shedding light on the true impact of his lifelong battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during OCD Awareness Week.

Howie Mandel, the renowned comedian and “America’s Got Talent” judge, shares a candid glimpse into his lifelong battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as he partners with NOCD for OCD Awareness Week. Mandel, now 67 years old, offers a unique perspective on the condition, dispelling common misconceptions.

Howie Mandel Manages His OCD, Says He’s More Than Just A Neat Freak

For Mandel, OCD goes beyond mere tidiness; it’s a pervasive force that has left an indelible mark on his life, even though he wasn’t officially diagnosed until his 40s.

In a recent Zoom call from Las Vegas, he opens up about his journey with OCD, asserting that the term “suffer” hardly encapsulates the intensity of his experience.

“If I think I got a germ on my hand, I can’t think or hear anything else,” Mandel confesses. He describes the relentless need to rid himself of that imaginary germ, often spiraling into extensive hand-washing rituals.

This overwhelming compulsion has caused him to miss important events, including birthdays and work commitments, all because of the unyielding dread that OCD instills.

Over the years, Howie Mandel has found relief through a combination of medication and therapy. While it has made his daily life more manageable, the looming presence of OCD never truly dissipates.

For those who genuinely grapple with OCD, such as Mandel, hearing casual acquaintances trivialize the condition by claiming they “have a bit of OCD” can be exasperating. He emphasizes the stark difference between occasional neurotic tendencies and the life-altering impact of OCD.

But what is OCD? According to Mayo Clinic, it’s characterized by persistent, distressing thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive actions (compulsions). Ignoring these obsessions can heighten anxiety, compelling individuals with OCD to perform compulsive behaviors in hopes of alleviating stress. These patterns can consume significant amounts of time, disrupt daily life, and lead to substantial impairment.

Obsessions can manifest in various forms, from an overwhelming fear of contamination to an insatiable need for things to be orderly and arranged a certain way. Compulsions, in turn, range from excessive hand-washing that damages the skin to repetitively checking if the stove is turned off or counting in specific patterns.

Howie Mandel recalls how his OCD once drove him to the brink. An example that stuck with him is the hours he spent checking if a door was locked, demonstrating the profound impact of this condition on his life.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented an exceptional challenge for Mandel, whose OCD fear of germs is well-known. He humorously coped with the added stress, but he also admits that laughter only offers temporary respite. The pandemic brought his fears to the forefront, and he acknowledges being traumatized by it.

In conclusion, Howie Mandel’s personal journey with OCD serves as a powerful reminder that the condition is more than just a tendency for neatness or orderliness.

It is a complex and often debilitating mental health challenge that affects individuals in profound ways. Mandel’s advocacy and partnership with NOCD during OCD Awareness Week aim to shed light on the true nature of OCD and offer support to those who genuinely struggle with it.


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