Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an
anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety, or by a combination of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). Symptoms may include repetitive hand-washing; extensive hoarding; preoccupation with sexual or aggressive impulses, or with particular religious beliefs; aversion to odd numbers; and nervous habits, such as constant
checking to see if something is locked, checking a device or appliance to ensure it is turned off, opening a door and closing
it a certain number of times before one enters or leaves a room. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and economic loss. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and come across to others as psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their thoughts and subsequent actions as irrational, and they may become further
distressed by this realization.
OCD is the fourth-most common mental disorder,
and is diagnosed nearly as often as asthma and diabetes mellitus. In the United States, one in 50 adults has OCD. The phrase "obsessive–compulsive" has become part of the English lexicon, and is often used in an
informal or caricatured manner to describe someone who is meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed in a cause, or otherwise fixated on something or someone. Although these signs may be present in OCD, a person who exhibits them does not necessarily have OCD, and may instead
have obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), an autism spectrum disorder, or no clinical condition. Multiple psychological and biological factors may be involved in causing obsessive–compulsive syndromes.
Signs and symptoms
A typical person with OCD performs tasks, or compulsions, to seek relief from obsession-related anxiety. Within and among individuals, the initial obsessions, or intrusive thoughts,
can vary in their clarity and vividness. A relatively vague obsession could involve a general sense of disarray or tension,
accompanied by a belief that life cannot proceed as normal while the imbalance remains. A more articulable obsession could
be a preoccupation with the thought or image of someone close to them dying. Other obsessions concern the possibility that someone or something other than oneself—such as God, the Devil, or disease—will harm either the person with OCD or the people or things that the person cares about. Others may sense that the
physical world is qualified by certain immaterial conditions. These people might intuit invisible protrusions from their
bodies, or could feel that inanimate objects are ensouled.
Some people with OCD experience sexual obsessions that may involve intrusive thoughts or images of "kissing, touching, fondling, oral sex, anal sex, intercourse, incest and rape" with "strangers, acquaintances, parents, children, family members, friends, coworkers, animals and religious
figures", and can include "heterosexual or homosexual content" with persons of any age. As with other intrusive, unpleasant thoughts or images, most people have some disquieting sexual thoughts at times,
but people with OCD may attach extraordinary significance to the thoughts. For example, obsessive fears about sexual orientation can appear to the person with OCD, and even to those around them, as a crisis of sexual identity. Furthermore, the doubt that accompanies OCD leads to uncertainty regarding whether one might act on the troubling
thoughts, resulting in self-criticism or self-loathing.
The person with OCD understands that their notions do not correspond with the external world; however, they feel that they must act as though their notions were correct. For example, an individual
who engages in compulsive hoarding might be inclined to treat inorganic matter as if it had the sentience or rights of living organisms, but such an individual might find their consequent behavior irrational on a more intellectual
level. In severe OCD, obsessions can shift into delusions when resistance to the obsession is abandoned and insight into
its senselessness is lost. (Insel and Akiskal (1986))
While some with OCD perform compulsive rituals because they inexplicably
feel they must, others act compulsively so as to mitigate the anxiety that stems from particular obsessive thoughts. The
person with OCD might feel that these actions somehow either will prevent a dreaded event from occurring, or will push the event from their thoughts. In any case, the individual's reasoning is so idiosyncratic or distorted that it results in significant distress for the
individual with OCD or for those around them. Excessive skin picking (i.e., dermatillomania) or hair plucking (i.e., trichotillomatia) and nail biting (i.e., onychophagia) are all on the Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum.
Individuals with OCD are aware that their thoughts and behavior are not rational, but they feel bound to comply with them to fend off feelings of panic or dread.
Some common compulsions include counting specific things (such as footsteps) or in specific ways (for instance,
by intervals of two) and doing other repetitive actions, often with atypical sensitivity to numbers or patterns. People
might repeatedly wash their hands or clear their throats, making sure certain items are in a straight line, repeatedly check that their parked cars
have been locked before leaving them, constantly organizing in a certain way, turn lights on and off, keep doors closed
at all times, touch objects a certain number of times before exiting a room, walk in a certain routine way like only stepping
on a certain color of tile, or have a routine for using stairs, such as always finishing a flight on the same foot.
People rely on compulsions as an escape from their obsessive thoughts; however, they
are aware that the relief is only temporary, that the intrusive thoughts will soon come back. Some people use compulsions
to avoid situations that may trigger their obsessions. Although some people do certain things over and over again, they don't
necessarily perform these actions compulsively. For example, bedtime routines, learning a new skill, and religious practices
are not compulsions. Whether or not behaviors are compulsions or mere habit depends on the context in which the behaviors
are performed. For example, arranging and ordering DVDs or videos for eight hours a day would be expected of one who works
in a video store, but would seem abnormal in other situations. Put another way, if the activity helps bring efficiency to
one's life, it is probably a habit, if it interferes with one's normal enjoyment of life, it is probably a compulsion.
In addition to the anxiety and fear that typically accompanies OCD,
some people may spend hours performing such tasks (i.e., compulsions) every day. In such situations it can be hard for the
person to fulfill their work, family, or social roles. In some cases, these behaviors can also cause adverse physical symptoms.
For example, people who obsessively wash their hands with antibacterial soap and hot water to remove what they consider to be contamination can make their skin red and raw with dermatitis.
People with OCD can use rationalizations to explain their behavior;
however these rationalizations do not apply to the overall behavior but to each instance individually; for example, a person
compulsively checking the front door may argue that the time taken and stress caused by one more check of the front door
is much less than the time and stress associated with being robbed, and thus the check is the better option. In practice,
after that check, the person is still not sure and deems it is still better in terms of time and stress
to do one more check, and this reasoning can continue as long as necessary.
OCD without overt compulsions
OCD sometimes manifests without overt compulsions. Nicknamed "Pure-O", OCD without overt compulsions could, by one estimate, characterize as many as 50 percent to 60 percent of OCD cases. Rather than engaging in observable compulsions, the person with this subtype might perform more covert, mental rituals,
or might feel driven to avoid the situations in which particular thoughts seem likely to intrude. As a result of this avoidance, people can struggle to fulfill both public and private roles, even if they place great
value on these roles and even if they had fulfilled the roles successfully in the past. Moreover, the individual's avoidance can confuse others who do not know its origin or intended purpose, as it did in
the case of a man whose wife began to wonder why he would not hold their infant child.
Scholars generally agree that both psychological and biological factors play a role
in causing the disorder, although they differ in their degree of emphasis upon either type of factor.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric anxiety disorder that includes
distressing, intrusive thoughts and related compulsions (tasks or "rituals") to neutralize the obsessions. Obsessions
are usually upsetting and the compulsions lead to temporary feelings of relief. To be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive
disorder, one must have either obsessions or compulsions alone, or obsessions and compulsions together, but most people
with OCD have both.
- Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and inappropriate. The thoughts cause
severe anxiety or distress.
- The thoughts, impulses, or images are not
just excessive worries about real-life problems.
- The person tries to ignore
or suppress the thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action.
- The person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of
his or her own mind, and are not based in reality.
- Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels they must perform
in response to an obsession, or according to rigid rules.
- The behaviors
or mental acts to prevent or reduce distress or prevent some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental
acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are supposed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive.
In addition, at some point during the course of the disorder, the person must realize
that his/her obsessions or compulsions are unreasonable or excessive, which is why people with OCD are not considered to
be detached from reality or psychotic. The obsessions or compulsions must be time-consuming, taking up more than one hour
per day, cause distress, or cause difficulty in social, work, or school functioning. Having OCD is stressful and can lead
to feelings of hopelessness and depression.
OCD has been linked to abnormalities with the neurotransmitter serotonin, although it could be either a cause or an effect of these abnormalities. Serotonin is thought to have a role in regulating
anxiety. To send chemical messages from one neuron to another, serotonin must bind to the receptor sites located on the neighboring nerve cell. It is hypothesized that the serotonin receptors of OCD sufferers may be relatively
understimulated. This suggestion is consistent with the observation that many OCD patients benefit from the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressant medications that allow for more serotonin to be readily available to other nerve cells.
A possible genetic mutation may contribute to OCD. A mutation has been found in the human serotonin transporter gene, hSERT, in unrelated families with OCD. Moreover, data from identical twins supports the existence of a "heritable factor for neurotic anxiety". Further, individuals with OCD are more likely to have first-degree family members exhibiting the same disorders than
do matched controls. In cases where OCD develops during childhood, there is a much stronger familial link in the disorder
than cases in which OCD develops later in adulthood. In general, genetic factors account for 45-65% of OCD symptoms in children
diagnosed with the disorder. Environmental factors also play a role in how these anxiety symptoms are expressed; various studies on this topic
are in progress and the presence of a genetic link is not yet definitely established.
People with OCD evince increased grey matter volumes in bilateral lenticular nuclei, extending to the caudate nuclei, while decreased grey matter volumes in bilateral dorsal medial frontal/anterior cingulate gyri.grey matter volumes in bilateral lenticular / caudate nuclei, while also decreased grey matter volumes in bilateral dorsal medial frontal/anterior cingulate gyri. OFC overactivity is attenuated in patients who have successfully responded to SSRI medication, a result believed to be caused by increased stimulation of serotonin5-HT2A and 5-HT2C. The striatum, linked to planning and the initiation of appropriate actions, has also been implicated; mice genetically engineered with
a striatal abnormality exhibit OCD-like behavior, grooming themselves three times as frequently as ordinary mice. Recent evidence supports the possibility of a heritable predisposition for neurological development favoring OCD. These findings contrast with those in people with other anxiety disorders, who evince decreased
(rather than increased) receptors
Rapid onset of OCD in children may
be caused by Group A streptococcal infection, a condition hypothesized by its acronym PANDAS.
Researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of obsessive-compulsive
disorder (OCD), but brain differences, genetic influences, and environmental factors are being studied. Brain scans of people
with OCD have shown that they have different patterns of brain activity than people without OCD and that different functioning
of circuitry within a certain part of the brain, the striatum, may cause the disorder. Differences in other parts of the brain and an imbalance of brain chemicals, especially serotonin and dopamine, may also contribute to OCD. Independent studies have consistently found unusual dopamine and serotonin activity in various regions of the brain in individuals with OCD. These can be defined as dopaminergic hyperfunction in the prefrontal cortex and serotonergic hypofunction in the basal ganglia.
Formal diagnosis may be performed by a psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or other licensed mental health professional. To be diagnosed with OCD, a person must have obsessions,
compulsions, or both, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The Quick Reference to the 2000 edition of the DSM suggests that several features characterize clinically significant obsessions and compulsions. Such obsessions, the DSM says, are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and that cause marked anxiety or distress. These thoughts, impulses, or images
are of a degree or type that lies outside the normal range of worries about conventional problems. A person may attempt to ignore or suppress such obsessions, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action, and will tend to recognize the obsessions as
idiosyncratic or irrational.
Compulsions become clinically significant
when a person feels driven to perform them in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly,
and when the person consequently feels or causes significant distress. Therefore, while many people who do not suffer from
OCD may perform actions often associated with OCD (such as ordering items in a pantry by height), the distinction with clinically
significant OCD lies in the fact that the person who suffers from OCD must perform these actions, otherwise they
will experience significant psychological distress. These behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress
or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these activities are not logically or practically connected to the
issue, or they are excessive. In addition, at some point during the course of the disorder, the individual must realize
that their obsessions or compulsions are unreasonable or excessive. Moreover, the obsessions or compulsions must be time-consuming
(taking up more than one hour per day) or cause impairment in social, occupational, or scholastic functioning. It is helpful to quantify the severity of symptoms and impairment before and during treatment for OCD. In addition
to the patient’s estimate of the time spent each day harboring obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors, Fenske
and Schwenk in their article “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Diagnosis and Management,” argue that more concrete
tools should be used to gauge the patient’s condition (2009). This may be done with rating scales, such as the most
trusted Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). With measurements like these, psychiatric consultation can be more appropriately determined because it has been
OCD is often confused with the separate condition obsessive–compulsive personality disorder. OCD is ego dystonic, meaning that the disorder is incompatible with the sufferer's self-concept. Because disorders that are ego dystonic go against a person's self-concept, they tend to cause much distress. OCPD,
on the other hand, is ego syntonic—marked by the person's acceptance that the characteristics displayed as
a result of this disorder are compatible with his or her self-image.
with OCD are often aware that their behavior is not rational and are unhappy about their obsessions but nevertheless feel
compelled by them. People with OCPD are not aware of anything abnormal about themselves; they will readily explain why their
actions are rational, and it is usually impossible to convince them otherwise.
People with OCD are ridden with anxiety; by contrast, people with OCPD tend to derive pleasure from their obsessions or compulsions.
Some OCD sufferers exhibit what is known as overvalued ideas.
In such cases, the person with OCD will truly be uncertain whether the fears that cause them to perform their compulsions
are irrational or not. After some discussion, it is possible to convince the individual that their fears may be unfounded.
It may be more difficult to do ERP therapy on such patients because they may be unwilling to cooperate, at least initially. For this reason OCD has often been likened
to a disease of pathological doubt, in which the sufferer, though not usually delusional, is often unable to realize fully which dreaded events are reasonably possible and which are not. There are severe cases in which the sufferer has an unshakeable belief in the context of OCD that is difficult
to differentiate from psychosis.
OCD is different from behaviors such as gambling addiction and overeating. People with these disorders typically experience at least some pleasure from their activity; OCD sufferers do not actively
want to perform their compulsive tasks and experience no pleasure from doing so.
OCD can, like many forms of chronic stress, lead to clinical depression over time. The constant stress of the condition can cause sufferers to develop a deadening of spirit, a numbing frustration,
or sense of hopelessness. OCD's effects on day-to-day life, particularly its substantial consumption of time, can produce
difficulties with work, finances, and relationships. There is no known cure for OCD, but a number of successful treatment
options are available.
According to a team of Duke University-led psychiatrists, behavioral therapy (BT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications should be regarded as first-line treatments for OCD. Psychodynamic psychotherapyAmerican Psychiatric Association notes a lack of controlled demonstrations that psychoanalysis or dynamic psychotherapy is effective "in dealing with the core symptoms of OCD." may help in managing some aspects of the disorder. The
The specific technique used in BT/CBT is called exposure and ritual prevention (also known as "exposure and response prevention") or ERP; this involves gradually learning to tolerate the anxiety associated with not performing the ritual behavior.
At first, for example, someone might touch something only very mildly "contaminated" (such as a tissue that has
been touched by another tissue that has been touched by the end of a toothpick that has touched a book that came from a
"contaminated" location, such as a school.) That is the "exposure". The "ritual prevention"
is not washing. Another example might be leaving the house and checking the lock only once (exposure) without going back
and checking again (ritual prevention). The person fairly quickly habituates to the anxiety-producing situation and discovers that their anxiety level has dropped considerably; they can then progress
to touching something more "contaminated" or not checking the lock at all—again, without performing the
ritual behavior of washing or checking.
Exposure ritual/response prevention (ERP) has a strong evidence
base. It is generally considered the most effective treatment for OCD.
It has generally been accepted that psychotherapy, in combination with psychotropic medication, is more effective than either option alone. However, more recent studies have shown no difference in outcomes for those
treated with the combination of medicine and CBT versus CBT alone.
More recent behavioral work has focused on associative splitting.
It is a new technique aimed at reducing obsessive thoughts. The method draws upon the “fan effect” of associative
priming: The sprouting of new associations diminishes the strength of existing ones. As OCD patients show marked biases or
restrictions in OCD-related semantic networks (e.g., cancer is only associated with “illness” or “death”,
fire is only associated with “danger” or “destruction”), they are encouraged to imagine neutral or positive associations to OCD-related cognitions (cancer = zodiac sign,
animal, crab; fire = fireflies, fireworks, candlelight-dinner). First studies tentatively confirm the feasibility and effectiveness
of the approach for a subgroup of patients.
Medications as treatment include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine, sertraline, fluoxetine, escitalopram, and fluvoxamine and the tricyclic antidepressants, in particular clomipramine. SSRIs prevent excess serotonin from being pumped back into the original neuron that released it. Instead, serotonin can then bind to the receptor sites of nearby neurons and send chemical messages or signals that can help regulate the excessive anxiety and obsessive thoughts. In some treatment-resistant cases, a combination of clomipramine and an SSRI has shown to be effective even when neither drug on its own has been efficacious.
Treatment of OCD is an area needing significant improvement
in prescribing regimens. Benzodiazepines are sometimes used, although they are generally believed to be ineffective for treating OCD; however, effectiveness was
found in one small study. Serotonergic antidepressants typically take longer to show benefit in OCD than with most other disorders they are used to treat. It is common for 2–3
months to elapse before any tangible improvement is noticed. In addition to this, treatment usually requires high dosages.
Fluoxetine, for example, is usually prescribed in dosages of 20 mg per day for clinical depression, whereas with OCD the dosage
often ranges from 20 mg to 80 mg or higher, if necessary. In most cases antidepressant therapy alone provides only a partial reduction in symptoms, even in cases that are not deemed treatment resistant. Much current
research is devoted to the therapeutic potential of the agents that affect the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate or the binding to its receptors. These include riluzole, memantine, gabapentin, N-Acetylcysteine, and lamotrigine. MDMA, which is a powerful and illicit serotonergic drug, has also been anecdotally reported to temporarily alleviate the symptoms
Low dosages of the newer atypical antipsychotics olanzapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, and risperidone have also been found to be useful as adjuncts in the treatment of OCD. The use of antipsychotics in OCD must be undertaken carefully, however, because although there is very strong evidence that at low dosages they are
beneficial (probably because of their dopamine receptor antagonism), at high dosages these same antipsychotics have caused dramatic obsessive–compulsive symptoms even in patients who
do not normally have OCD. This can be because the antagonism of 5-HT2A receptors becomes very prominent at these dosages and outweighs the benefits of dopamine antagonism. However, the antidepressant mirtazapine, which is a 5-HT2A antagonist, has been shown to benefit OCD patients. This could be explained partially by the fact that Clomipramine (often regarded as the most effective medication against OCD symptoms) and Mirtazapine share a similar potency with regard to antagonism at 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors, with Ki values for the 5-HT2A receptor as 36nM and 69nM respectively, and for the 5-HT2C
receptor as 65nM and 39nM respectively.
SSRIs inhibit the chief enzyme that is responsible for metabolising antipsychotics—CYP2D6—so the dosage will be effectively higher than expected when these are combined with SSRIs. Antipsychotic treatment should be considered as augmentation treatment when SSRI treatment does not bring positive
The naturally occurring sugar inositol has been suggested as a treatment for OCD, as it appears to modulate the actions of serotonin and reverse desensitisation of neurotransmitter receptors.
Nutrition deficiencies may also contribute to OCD and other mental disorders. Vitamin and mineral supplements may aid in such disorders and provide nutrients necessary for proper mental functioning.
μ-Opioids, such as hydrocodone and tramadol, may rapidly ameliorate OCD symptoms. Tramadol is an atypical opioid that appears to provide the anti-OCD effects of an opiate and inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin (in addition to norepinephrine) Oral morphine, administered once weekly, has been shown to reduce OCD symptoms in some treatment-resistant patients. The mechanism of
therapeutic action is unknown.CYP2D6 inhibitors such as fluoxetine and paroxetine. Administration of opiate treatment may be contraindicated in individuals concurrently taking
Psychedelics such as LSD, peyote, and tryptamine alkaloid psilocybin have been proposed as treatment due to their observed effects on OCD symptoms. It has been hypothesised that hallucinogens may stimulate 5-HT2A receptors and, less significantly, 5-HT2C receptors, causing an inhibitory effect on the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain strongly associated with hyperactivity and OCD.
Regular nicotine treatment may ameliorate symptoms of OCD, although the pharmacodynamical mechanism by which this is achieved is not yet known, and more detailed studies are needed to fully confirm this hypothesis.
Because of choline's anti-dopaminergic effects often worsen OCD
symptoms, anticholinergics are sometimes used as a supplementary treatment for OCD symptoms.
St John's Wort was previously believed to be of benefit due to its (non-selective) serotonin re-uptake inhibiting qualities, but a double-blind
study using a flexible-dose schedule (600–1800 mg/day) found no difference between St John's Wort and a placebo.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been found effective in severe and refractory cases.
For some, neither medication, support groups nor psychological treatments are helpful
in alleviating obsessive–compulsive symptoms. These patients may choose to undergo psychosurgery as a last resort. In this procedure, a surgical lesion is made in an area of the brain (the cingulate cortex). In one study, 30% of participants benefited significantly from this procedure. Deep-brain stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation are possible surgical options that do not require destruction of brain tissue. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration approved deep-brain stimulation for the treatment of OCD under a humanitarian
device exemption requiring that the procedure be performed only in a hospital with specialist qualifications to do so.
In the US, psychosurgery for OCD is a treatment of last resort and
will not be performed until the patient has failed several attempts at medication (at the full dosage) with augmentation,
and many months of intensive cognitive–behavioral therapy with exposure and ritual/response prevention. Likewise, in the UK, psychosurgery cannot be performed unless a course of treatment from a suitably qualified cognitive–behavioral
therapist has been carried out.
Treatment in children and adolescents
the causes of OCD in younger age groups range from brain abnormalities to psychological preoccupations, life stress may also
contribute to childhood cases of OCD—acknowledging these stressors plays an important role in treating the disorder.
In her article “Factors Influencing the Onset of Childhood Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” Tina M. D’Alessandro
reports that such stressors as bullying and traumatic familial deaths have caused anxiety and depression in children, conditions
that have led to their development of OCD. To reduce suffering and prevent OCD-related mortality in adulthood, D’Alessandro
emphasizes the importance of considering these stressors early-on so as to guide the child toward treatment as soon as possible.
As with adults, behavioral treatment has proven to be quite effective
in reducing ritual behaviors of OCD. A key component to the success of such treatments in children and adolescents consists of family member involvement,
which can be established in a number of different ways. Dr. Judith L. Rapoport stresses the importance of familial participation
during the child’s therapy sessions as well as outside the sessions, in the form of creating behavioral observations
and reports. Additionally, parental intervention aids in providing positive reinforcement for the child when s/he exhibits appropriate
behaviors as alternatives to his/her compulsive response. Therapy, in general, has proven very helpful to children and adolescents
with OCD according to Dr. Paul L. Adams. Parents may expect the duration of weekly sessions to last one to two years, but
the results are quite valuable. Adams reports such changes in his own patients as the acquisition of a larger circle of
friends, the child exhibiting less shyness, and being far less self-critical after considering the true meaning behind his/her
obsession and learning how to cope with it in therapy sessions.
For phasing out obsessive thoughts, Rapoport reports that the mental
technique of “thought stopping” has been successful particularly among adolescents. In this procedure, whenever
the individual has an obsessive thought, s/he is encouraged to either mentally or verbally pronounce “STOP”
in mid-thought to interrupt the obsession. Additionally, Rapoport reports a modification of this process so as to prevent
“STOP” for becoming a stimulus to the obsessive thoughts: the child is to call to mind the thought, interrupt
by loudly counting backward from ten, and then evoke a pleasant scene—in one subject, this reduced the obsessive frequencies
by 80% in just one week and eliminated them in four.
OCD does not have a higher affinity for a specific gender. It can begin as early as the age
of two, but most often begins in the late teens for males and the early twenties for females. Studies have placed the prevalence
between one and three percent, The fact that many individuals do not seek treatment may be due in part to stigma associated with OCD. although the prevalence of clinically recognized OCD is much lower, suggesting that many individuals with the
disorder may not be diagnosed.
In a 1980 study of adults from several U.S. cities,
the lifetime prevalence rate of OCD for both sexes was recorded at 2.5 percent. Education also appears to be a factor. The
lifetime prevalence of OCD is lower for those who have graduated from high school than for those who have not (1.9 percent
versus 3.4 percent). However, in the case of college education, lifetime prevalence is higher for those who graduate with
a degree (3.1 percent) than it is for those who have only some college background (2.4 percent). As far as age is concerned,
the onset of OCD usually ranges from the late teenage years until the mid-20s in both sexes, but the age of onset tends
to be slightly younger in males than in females.
A study suggests that OCD symptoms in Japanese patients are similar
to those found in Western countries, suggesting that this disorder transcends culture and geography. The study, published
in 2008, appears to contradict previous theories, said the study’s lead author, Hisato Matsunaga. Having "hypothesized
that symptom structure might be substantially influenced by the sociocultural differences", Hisato said that he was
surprised by the results.
It has been proposed that sufferers are generally
of above-average intelligence, as the very nature of the disorder necessitates complicated thinking patterns.
People with OCD may be diagnosed with other conditions, such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, anorexia nervosa, social anxiety disorder, bulimia nervosa, Tourette syndrome, Asperger syndrome, compulsive skin picking, body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, and (as already mentioned) obsessive–compulsive personality disorder. There is some research demonstrating a link between drug addiction and OCD as well. Many who suffer from OCD also suffer from panic attacks. There is a higher risk of drug addiction among those with any anxiety disorder (possibly as a way of coping with the heightened levels of anxiety), but drug addiction among OCD patients may serve as a type of compulsive behavior and not just as a coping mechanism. Depression is also extremely prevalent among sufferers of OCD. One explanation for the high depression rate among OCD populations
was posited by Mineka, Watson, and Clark (1998), who explained that people with OCD (or any other anxiety disorder) may feel depressed because of an "out of control" type of feeling. In further consideration of OCD comorbidities, the research of Fenske and Schwenk reports that studies have shown
that depression among those with OCD is particularly alarming because their risk of suicide is high; more than 50 percent
of patients experience suicidal tendencies, and 15 percent have attempted suicide. Individuals with OCD have also been found to be affected by delayed sleep phase syndrome at a substantially higher rate than the general public.
OCD is associated with higher IQ.
A 2009 study that conducted "a battery of neuropsychological
tasks to assess nine cognitive domains with a special focus on executive functions" concluded that "few neuropsychological differences emerged between the OCD and healthy participants when concomitant
factors were controlled."
rom the 14th to the 16th century
in Europe, it was believed that people who experienced blasphemous, sexual, or other obsessive thoughts were possessed by the Devil. Based on this reasoning, treatment involved banishing the "evil" from the "possessed" person through
exorcism. In the early 1910s, Sigmund Freud attributed obsessive–compulsive behavior to unconscious conflicts that manifest as symptoms. Freud describes the clinical history of a typical case of "touching phobia" as starting in early childhood,
when the person has a strong desire to touch an item. In response, the person develops an "external prohibition"
against this type of touching. However, this "prohibition does not succeed in abolishing" the desire to touch;
all it can do is repress the desire and "force it into the unconscious".
- British poet, essayist, and lexicographer Samuel Johnson is an example of a historical figure with a retrospective diagnosis of OCD. He had elaborate rituals for crossing the thresholds of doorways, and repeatedly walked up and down staircases
counting the steps.
- American aviator and filmmaker Howard Hughes is known to have suffered from OCD and it is believed that his mother may have also been a sufferer. Friends of Hughes
have mentioned his obsession with minor flaws in clothing and he is reported to have had a great fear of germs, common among
- English footballer David Beckham has been outspoken regarding his struggle with OCD. He has told media that he has to count all of his clothes, and his
magazines have to lie in a straight line. He has expressed a desire to get help for his problems.
- American game show host Marc Summers has written a book about how OCD has affected his life. The book is titled Everything in Its Place: My Trials and Triumphs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
- Movies and television often portray idealized representations of
disorders such as OCD. These depictions may lead to increased public awareness, understanding, and sympathy for such disorders.
- ^ Hollander, Eric; Dan J. Stein (1997). "Diagnosis and assessment". Obsessive–compulsive
Disorders. nforma Health Care. p. 1. ISBN 0203215214.
- ^ Null, Gary (2006). "Obsessive–compulsive disorder". Get Healthy
Now. Seven Stories Press. pp. 269. ISBN 1583220429.
- ^ Berrios G E (1985) Obsessional Disorders: A Conceptual History. Terminological and Classificatory Issues. In Bynum
W F et al. (eds) The Anatomy of Madness Vol I , London, Tavistock, pp 166-187
- ^ Baer (2001), p. 33, 78
- ^ Baer (2001), p. xiv.
- ^ a b Mash, E. J., & Wolfe, D. A. (2005). Abnormal child psychology (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, p. 197.
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