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, cause 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.

  • 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 but may also arise in response to a significant life event, such as pregnancy/the postpartum period or trauma.
  • OCD affects all genders equally.
  • It often takes a long time for an OCD sufferer to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Effective treatment is available for OCD.

There are a variety of conditions that have obsessive-compulsive qualities that are quite similar to OCD. These include 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