(NECN) - It's easy to poke fun at Jack Nickelson's character in the opening credits of "As Good As It Gets," but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is no laughing matter.
It affects at least 2-3% of the world's population and 4 million Americans, dramatically altering their daily lives. While the exact cause is unknown, research shows that OCD symptoms can be genetic.
Dr. Michael Jenike of Boston's International OCD Foundation stooped by NECN with San Francisco radio host Jeff Bell, who suffers from OCD.
Bell warns people that "this can destroy lives when it's not treated." He decided to come public with the disease because getting treatment had a huge effect on his life.
"My small contribution to the mental health world has been to increase the dialogue a little bit," he said. "Once I started getting serious about it, I started feeling better pretty quickly.
This week is OCD awareness week, and there's an event to learn more about it this Saturday night in Belmont.
It is called "OCD Stories, an Evening of reflections, humor and education." It's this Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Belmont' McLean Hospital, and it's free.
For more information, go to ocfoundation.org.