She may be beautiful and famous—but Olivia Munn is also human.

The successful film and television actress most recently seen in the cable program, “The Newsroom" and in this summer's movie, “Magic Mike" recently disclosed that she suffers from anxiety and trichotillomania, a condition that falls under the Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorder (OCSD) umbrella.

Munn's Battle with Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania (TTM) refers to an impulsive and persistent urge to pull one's hair out; the actress told Jon Stewart in a talkshow interview that, “I don't bite my nails, but I rip out my eyelashes."

Munn explained to the New York Daily News that her stepfather was verbally abusive and highly critical of her acting ambitions, often telling her she lacked talent and would never succeed.

She also attributed some of her anxiety to frequent moving as a young child due to being part of a military family. Saying, “no one was nice to the new kid," she often feared being mocked each time she was forced to transition into a new school.

OCD vs. OCSD

OCSD is similar to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), though people who fall on the spectrum do not meet the medical criteria for diagnosis of OCD. They do, however, tend to engage in repetitive, specific actions that are time-consuming. And often times the two conditions are comorbid, meaning they occur simultaneously.

Some experts believe the two conditions share biological roots, with certain studies of brain scans showing similar activities between OCD and some OCSD subtypes. Additional studies, however, have not replicated those results, instead revealing distinct brain pathways between the two conditions.

OC Disdorder Conditions and Treatment

Examples of conditions that fall on the OC spectrum disorder include: Tourette syndrome, body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia disorder, hypochondriasis and pathologic skin picking. They are known as impulse control disorders, and patients with these conditions see their relenting concerns or fears as justifiable. On the other hand, OCD patients recognize their obsessions and related compulsions are irrational; they just cannot stop them.

Medications that affect neurotransmitters in the brain, known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), have been prescribed for both disorders. In some cases, the prescriptions have proven beneficial, while in others, they have failed. Such results have further prompted experts to diagnose the two disorders distinctly.

OCD Explained

OCD is a serious anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted and unwarranted thoughts and fears, combined with the presence of compulsions. Known as obsessions, these fears trigger compulsions in an attempt to alleviate the anxiety. Hence, a person with an obsessive fear of germs might engage in excessive hand-washing as a coping method.

Unfortunately, the compulsions do not resolve the fears, but rather add to the struggle. The effort consumed by the compulsions is usually so great that the individual's daily routine is disrupted. For those afraid they have forgotten to unplug an appliance or turn off their heaters, for instance, the persistent and nagging anxiety renders them unable to leave home.

OCD treatment includes psychotherapy—known as cognitive behavioral therapy—and various medications.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: June 09, 2017

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