It does to some extent, but not always in a bad way. Now that drug companies are advertising medications, people are more aware of certain symptoms and are going to their doctors and asking questions. It is great that we have such a well-informed consumer public.
However, we may be overinformed. For example, while we were growing up, most of our mothers did not bleach all of our toys, the whole family drank out of the same glass bottle of soda pop, we used a bar of regular soap at the sink, and we held shopping cart handles with no fear. Now we are told on television commercials to bleach everything to kill all of the bad germs; rarely do you see people sharing a drink anymore; soaps are liquid, and almost all of them are antibacterial; and we have wipes (supposedly as an advertisement) at the grocery store for our cart handles.
If these things were really as dangerous as we’ve recently decided that they are, how did anyone older than twenty survive to be older than twenty? No one has ever heard of a mass illness linked to shopping cart handles, yet we are becoming paranoid about merely touching things others have touched.
The downside of all this is our children will probably get sicker over time because their immune systems will not have been given the chance to fight certain bacteria and viruses. Also, we are going to create more and more drug-resistant germs, which will be what really end up causing us harm, the very things we are doing to protect ourselves may be the things that hurt us in the end!
So really, media is a double-edged sword when it comes to OCD. Although it does encourage people to get the help they need, it also fosters an aura of paranoia that is unfounded and can lead to a lot of worrying and potential OCD symptoms.