Leonardo DiCaprio has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Check the Symptoms.

Leonardo DiCaprio battles with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Check the symptoms.

By Doc Willie Ong

Leonardo Dicaprio is a multi-awarded actor who has been in a number Hollywood blockbusters. Born November 11th, 1974, Leonardo is an only child. At a young age, his parents discovered early on that he had a talent for acting, and they enrolled him in a talent agency. 

His career took off from there, and he has since achieved great success.  He is a three-time Academy Award nominee and the recipient of numerous acting awards.  Additionally, he runs a production firm by the name of Appian Way. 

Leonardo has been honest about the fact that he has had OCD for a long time.  On the way to school as a child, Leonardo remembers walking on cracks and frequently needing to turn around and retrace his steps so he could repeat the process and tread on the same cracks once more. 

He has also shared having the impulse to step on every chewing gum stain he sees and having to repeatedly go back and forth through doorways.  Leonardo says he has mild to moderate OCD.  Moreover, he always had to deal with the symptoms and fight the cravings to keep everything under control.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Symptoms

It’s normal behavior to occasionally check again to make sure if the iron is unplugged, to fear that public utensils might be dirty, or even to have a violent idea now and then.  But if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), your compulsive thoughts and habits take over your life and interfere with your daily activities. 

Uncontrollable, unpleasant thoughts, recurring rituals, and repeated activities patients feel obliged to carry out, are features of OCD.  If a person has OCD, he understands that these obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable, but he may still find it difficult to fight them and free himself.  OCD is a disorder affecting 2.3% of Americans. 

The majority of OCD sufferers may fit into one of these categories:

  • Washers take their fear of contamination to extremes.  They frequently feel compelled to clean or wash their hands for fear of germs.
  • Checkers are individuals who frequently check items that they identify with injury or risk.  Some repeatedly check that their appliances have been unplugged while others go back to check on the locks of their door.
  • Doubters and sinners worry that if things aren’t flawless or done correctly, horrible things will occur or they’ll be punished.
  • Counters and arrangers are totally preoccupied with symmetry and order.  They might be afraid of certain combinations of numbers, colors, or arrangements.

Unfortunately for Leonardo, his symptoms quickly became more severe when he decided to play an OCD character in the hit movie: The Aviator.  The movie chronicles the real life of millionaire, business tycoon, pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist Howard Hughes, who had severe OCD from a young age. 

The portrayal of obsessions and compulsions in Howard Hughes’ real life is fairly realistic in the movie and was done with care by the actor.  In addition to some recurrent compulsions, like Leonardo, Howard grappled with obsessions and compulsions related to his fear of contamination.  Leonardo placed a great deal of importance on the chance to promote OCD awareness by playing a role like this.  He tried to make his portrayal as true to reality as he could.  But he did so at the expense of his own mental health.

In order to be as genuine to his character as possible, Leonardo decided to cease controlling his OCD symptoms and left them unhindered.  To emphasize his symptoms and better understand how Howard truly felt so that he could give the role his all, he even sought the advice of a physician who specialized in OCD. 

In an interview, Leonardo recounted how his OCD swiftly got worse once he stopped controlling his obsessive urges. 

As he and his assistant were proceeding to the set, he recalls his assistant complaining, ‘Oh, God, here he goes again. We’re going to need 10 minutes to get him to the set today because he has to walk back and step on that thing and touch the door in a certain way and then walk in and walk out again.’  Leonardo let himself do it because he wanted this behavior to come out on screen.

It was incredibly difficult for him to regain control of his OCD once he finished filming.  He freely acknowledges that he found this to be incredibly challenging, saying: “It became unpleasant, even after the movie.” 

The movie went incredibly well, and his performance was able to highlight an authentic portrayal of OCD.  Leonardo doesn’t appear to regret making the decision and appears content with it.  After a few months of hard work, he was able to get his symptoms under control.

Leonardo was able to raise awareness about OCD by playing a character who had this disorder. 

Through his acting, he was able to connect with a larger audience.  After watching the film, people can gain a better understanding of what it’s like to live with OCD.  We can also help reduce stigma and increase awareness by talking about our personal and professional experiences with mental illness. 

More of us speaking up for the cause means more boundaries are broken down and people are able to comprehend what it’s actually like to have this disease.  

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