More Than a Superstition: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Through the Eyes of Allison Britz

For the longest time, people have underestimated the significance of Young Adult literature. It wasn’t until J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, which chronicled the mindset of a troubled teenager, that they realized that there is a need for a category dedicated to the age group. 


Before that point, the term teenager was hardly used or nonexistent. They always assumed that once you turned a certain age, you are an adult. There were only children and adults, there was no in between.

Yet, there was. There was and still is a transition from child to adult. There is a developmental change, both mentally and physically, and when an adolescent feels something “adult-like” for the first time, it can be life-changing. Both negative and positive emotions are intensified and events can be significantly memorable, and even traumatic. 


It was learned that Young Adult literature can act as a coping mechanism for adolescents as they continue to develop. The reason that they are so helpful is because they feature teenage narrators or main characters that are going through the same struggles as the adolescent readers are and they are teaching them ways to properly handle these conflicts through story.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Young Adult Literature


Young Adult literature has certainly evolved over the years. While the supernatural and progressive books have become the most popular in the media, there are still a number of topics that adolescents should read that will best prepare them for adult life. 


Common Young Adult themes are love, sexual identity, eating disorders, parental issues, bullying, learning disabilities, and grieving, just to name a few. 


However, very few novels out there discuss topics relating to mental disorders. Yet many adolescents suffer from it, unaware of what’s going on inside their mind and body, and it continues into adulthood where their disorders worsen and they are unable to maintain them.  


Author Allison Britz aims to fill that void. As a teenager, she developed obsessive compulsive disorder from a single yet complex and heavily detailed nightmare, which some may see as evidence of how meticulous and obsessed her mind can become, even when unconscious. 

Her narrative captures the reader’s attention and puts them in the perspective of someone who has experienced a life in which she was a slave to her own negative thoughts and is working through her recovery. 


Due to its subject matter and personal narration, Britz’s memoir Obsessed, is a story that all teenagers should read, not just those who already suffer from the disorder. Mental disorders can be developed at any time, and should a reader experience this, they will think of Britz’s story and know how to properly cope with it. 


Other Options for Learning and Recovery


As a mental disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder can be treated through therapy. One convenient therapy option is BetterHelp, an online platform that allows you to speak to a therapist any time you need it.  


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