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Pennsylvania lawmaker Justin Simmons reveals long battle with OCD

Pennsylvania lawmaker Justin Simmons reveals long battle with OCD

Pennsylvania state Representative Justin Simmons, who dropped out of congressional race in November 2017, recently talked about his struggles with mental illness. Overcoming all hurdles, including stigma associated with mental conditions, Simmons posted a video on his campaign’s Facebook page, talking in detail about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) he has been suffering from since childhood. Simmons confessed that it was not the easiest thing for him to talk about as it was an illness not understood by most people.

Simmons, 31, took the bold step, saying that his coming forward would bring awareness about the mental condition and help someone not just in the present, but in the future as well. The Republican leader spoke openly in an effort to help people understand the exact reason why he missed out on eight days, out of the 28 days that he was not present in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Simmons had attributed his 20 absences to common diseases like flu, his wedding and his daughter’s birth. The lawmaker said he suffered an OCD attack in 2016 and did not attend the House for eight days due to treatment he underwent for the mental condition. He recorded his statement so that people could empathize with him and millions of others suffering from OCD across the country.

“OCD has not stopped me from living a full life or from representing the people of the 131st House District, and it never will. Thank you, as always, for your support,” he said. He suggested that mental health should be high on the priority list of people and be taken seriously. One needs to surround themselves with people who are supportive. It may be easier to find that support at home, but for professionals, it helps if they are working for a good employer who understands their problems.

Help at hand

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines OCD as a condition in which an individual mind is dominated by recurring thoughts or obsessions, which are uncontrollable. These are accompanied with a behavior, which he or she is urged to continue repeating. It is a long-lasting disorder, which is chronic in nature. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), OCD affects more than 2 million adults in the U.S.

Individuals with OCD may have symptoms of compulsions, obsessions, or both, which can interfere with their day-to-day activities and personal relationships. Common symptoms for obsessive thoughts include fear of germs or contamination, aggressive thoughts toward others or self and always trying to have things in a perfect order. On the other hand, common compulsions cover excessive cleaning and/or handwashing and repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off.

Millions of Americans suffer from a mental illness every year. While there has been an increase in public awareness about mental illnesses, ensuring adequate treatment for them still remains a challenge. It is important for federal and state governments to work hand-in-hand in developing mental health care services and in ensuring sufficient access to them.

If you know someone who is struggling with any kind of mental illness and is in need of treatment, contact the Recover Mental Health to know about the finest inpatient mental health treatment centers in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online with one of our specialists to know more about one of the best inpatient mental health facilities in your area. One should not delay in seeking treatment as it can worsen the condition.

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