Healthcare: Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

What is OCD?


What Is OCD?


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a treatable neurobiological disorder characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions/rituals. Certain compulsions are performed in an effort to relieve the anxiety or distress caused by the obsessions. Obsessions and compulsions can be extremely time-consuming causing significant emotional distress, and may greatly interfere with day-to-day functioning and interpersonal relationships. Individuals with OCD may go to great lengths to hide obsessions and compulsions due to embarrassment and shame. It is estimated that 1 in 40 adults, and 1-2 out of every 100 children suffer with OCD.

  • The exact cause of OCD is unknown, although research points to genetic and other biological causes.
  • OCD impacts 1 in every 40 adults and 1-2 in every 100 children.
  • OCD affects approximately two percent of the population every year.
  • OCD usually appears in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Effective treatment is available for OCD.
  • OCD affects women and men equally.
  • It often takes a long time for an OCD sufferer to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

There are a variety of conditions that have obsessive compulsive disorder qualities that are quite similar to OCD such as PANDAS, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, compulsive skin picking, hypochondria, and olfactory reference syndrome.

What Disorders are Related to OCD?

Types of Symptoms