More than half of adults with untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) reported their condition has a negative impact on important relationships - at work, at home, and in their personal life, according to a new national survey commissioned by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) and conducted by Harris Interactive. OCD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that affects more than 2 million American adults.
Of those who have received treatment for their OCD, 76 percent said it had a positive impact on their friendships, 67 percent (of those employed) reported a positive effect on their professional relationships and 62 percent reported a positive impact on their ability to have romantic relationships.
In light of these findings, ADAA has launched the "Treat It, Don't Repeat It: Break Free From OCD" campaign, a new initiative to educate Americans about the signs and symptoms of OCD and provide information about how to talk with a health care professional about treatment options.
"Our research indicates nearly one-third of all people with OCD delay treatment for 10 years or more following the appearance of their first symptoms," said Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, President and CEO of ADAA. "We also know that about half of adults who are not being treated believe that more information about the benefits of the different treatments would make them more likely to seek treatment for their OCD. The goal of our campaign is to provide education and resources to help those with OCD gain a greater understanding of this disorder and find effective help."
The "Treat it, Don't Repeat It: Break Free from OCD" initiative includes notable spokespersons: Howie Mandel, host of the popular game show Deal or No Deal, who has spoken publicly about living with OCD; David Hoberman, the co-creator and executive producer of the of the award-winning USA Network series Monk, who based the show on some of his personal experiences with OCD; and Tony Shalhoub, who stars as Adrian Monk, a private investigator with OCD on the series Monk. These spokespersons, along with Jerilyn Ross, are featured in a series of television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) about OCD, which will begin airing nationwide this week.
"We are honored to have the involvement of Howie Mandel, David Hoberman and Tony Shalhoub as we work to help those affected by OCD break free from the disorder and get the help they need to live fulfilling, productive lives," Ross said.
Additional survey findings:
- 68 percent say their OCD symptoms have a negative impact on their ability to carry out normal daily activities.
- 45 percent feel as if they have no control over their lives.
- 65 percent of adults with untreated OCD report misunderstandings with friends and family.
- 59 percent say their OCD has negatively affected their ability to have a romantic relationship.
- 46 percent say they have no close friends.
OCD symptoms have other negative results:
- 49 percent report avoiding events they wanted to attend.
- 34 percent report chronic lateness for school work, or other important events.
- 24 percent say they have quit a job due to OCD symptoms.
- 44 percent say they have made excuses or lied as a result of their symptoms.
The "Treat It, Don't Repeat It: Break Free from OCD" campaign was made possible through an unrestricted grant provided by Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Affecting approximately 2.2 million American adults, OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviors and routines (compulsions) to try to ease their anxiety or distress. Although people with OCD generally know these obsessions and compulsions are irrational and excessive, they feel as if they have little or no control over them. Some people spend many hours a day performing complicated rituals to ward off persistent, unwelcome thoughts, feelings or images or to try to make them go away.