Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) affects millions of people from all walks of life. According to the NIMH, OCD affected 1.2% of adults in the U.S. in the past year.1 It currently affects approximately 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the U.S.2 People with OCD experiences obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or urge that cause distress or anxiety. Compulsions are behaviors that the person feels compelled to perform in order to ease their distress or anxiety or suppress the thoughts. Some of these behaviors are visible actions while others are mental behaviors. Common obsessions include concerns about contamination, cleanliness, aggressive impulses, or the need for symmetry. Common compulsions include checking, washing/cleaning, and arranging. There isn’t always a logical connection between obsessions and compulsions. Often people with OCD experiences a variety of obsessions and compulsions.
Many people with OCD recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are not rational. Nevertheless, they still feel a strong need to perform the repetitive behavior or mental compulsions. They may spend several hours every day focusing on their obsessions, performing seemingly senseless rituals. If left untreated, OCD can be chronic and can interfere with a person’s normal routine, schoolwork, job, family, or social activities. Proper treatment can help sufferers regain control over the illness and feel relief from the symptoms.
Unlike adults, children and teens with OCD may not recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive.
- Relationship OCD
- Questioning Whether You Have OCD When You Have OCD
- How to Take the Power Back from Intrusive Thought OCD
- Missing your OCD?
- Why is my OCD Worse On Vacation?
- Pedophiles, Rapists and Murderers...Oh My: How to Disengage from Harm OCD & Re-engage in Your Life
- Why Can't I Stop These Horrible Thoughts? (blog post by ADAA member Dr. Andrea Umbach)
- OCD Stories on The Mighty
- International OCD Foundation
- Trichotillomania Learning Center
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), NIMH