Spanish Culture and News

Are the Spanish less screwed up than us? OCD in Spain

Marina, my Madrileña wife, has a theory: that there is less OCD in Spain than the UK.

She bases this idea on the fact that she knows quite a lot of people connected to my circle in the UK who complain openly about having OCD, or knowing people that have had OCD, and, in all honesty, her husband (me) has been through some slightly more obsessive-compulsive periods of life than is strictly useful, helpful or necessary.

But she really can’t think of more than about one of our circle of acquaintances in Spain that falls into the OCD typology. Same socio-economic group, over a similar range of ages (teens to old age), yet only one OCD case here compared to, well, muchos in the UK.

My theory is that this just isn’t true, that it’s just a) more fashionable to admit to having OCD in the UK (as insane as that might sound, and as insulting as it might seem to anyone that has been through the hell of it… like me), and b) that the Brits are just less bothered about admitting such things when they do happen.

(And when I say fashionable, clearly I don’t mean it’s cool, but it’s like ADD – no-one every really mentioned either of these afflictions until a few years ago, and now everyone is happy enough to be labeled with them – in Spain I don’t think OCD has entered the lingual currency enough to be had by enough people yet… am I making any sense?!)

Certainly there are enough people with mental problems in Spain, our psychiatrist friend who works for the social services here and deals with a huge number of schizophrenics, chronic depresessives and drug psychosis cases constantly contests to that.

But is it possible that Marina is right, that the Spanish are less obsessive? That they are just more… well… chilled out in general, and as such less prone to obsessive compulsive tendencies? Or am I right in thinking that OCD, like ADD, just isn’t a recognised part of the mental health landscape here, yet bubbles away under the surface to the same degree that it does out in the open in the UK

Thoughts welcome, about Spain, the UK, or where you come from too…