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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Understanding your anxiety

Everyone double-checks things sometimes. However, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) cannot help themselves but indulge in repetitive behaviors, do certain rituals over and over, or have repeated unwanted thoughts. OCD is a medical illness that can have devastating effects on your life.

RECENT STATISTICS ABOUT OCD

  • In the U.S., approximately 3.3 million people have OCD.
  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 0.3 to 1% of the pediatric population has OCD, and 1-2% of the adult population suffers from OCD.
  • OCD strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers.

WHAT IS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)?

  • OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive, ritualized behaviors. These behaviors are triggered by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts (Obsessions) that create an urge to perform a particular activity (Compulsions). The compulsions aim to relieve the anxiety created by the obsessions briefly.
  • People with OCD can’t control their unwanted thoughts and behaviors.
  • OCD is a lifelong disorder that can cause disability.

SOME COMMON OBSESSIONS INCLUDE:

  • Distress over dirt or contamination
  • Concern with illness or disease
  • A need to keep things orderly or symmetrical
  • Aggressive or violent thoughts of harming one’s self or others
  • Unwanted sexual or religious thoughts

SOME COMMON COMPULSIONS INCLUDE:

  • Cleaning or washing repeatedly
  • Seeking constant reassurance from others
  • Following a strict ritual or routine
  • Repeatedly ordering or arranging items
  • Repeatedly counting
  • Repeatedly checking
  • Avoiding situations that trigger obsessions

OCD IN CHILDREN

  • OCD usually appears during childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.
  • Children must undergo a thorough medical and psychological examination, as symptoms of other mental disorders like ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, or Autism can look like OCD.
  • Most people are diagnosed by about age 19.

RISK FACTORS

  • Stressful or distressing events, like childhood trauma, can increase the risk of OCD.
  • Research indicates that OCD might run in families.

ASSOCIATED HELP

  • Consider getting involved in a support group. Like-minded people can help you overcome the challenges of OCD.
  • Try to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and sleep adequately. These behaviors can positively influence your treatment.
  • If OCD disrupts your daily functioning, you may seek treatment from an experienced clinician. Medications, psychotherapy, and TMS therapy can be beneficial for OCD.

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER FAQs

Can OCD cause depression? ︿

People with OCD are likely to develop other mental disorders – most commonly, major depressive disorder or MDD.

One 2011 study found that people diagnosed with OCD are roughly ten times more likely to experience depression than those without OCD symptoms.

The exact reason is up for debate. However, one popular opinion is that people living with OCD struggle with its symptoms and the adverse effects that come with it. They may not be able to participate in daily activities and socialize. Some may not even be able to relax at home how they’d like to. This struggle likely increases the risk of depression.

What does it feel like to have OCD?

How to get diagnosed with OCD?

Does OCD get worse with age?

Does OCD medication change your personality?

Does OCD run in families?

What is OCD backdoor spike?

Can OCD come back after treatment?

How to treat OCD?

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