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What are common obstacles to effective treatment?

Studies find that it takes an average of 14–17 years from the time OCD begins for people to obtain appropriate treatment. Some people choose to hide their symptoms, often in fear of embarrassment or stigma. Therefore, many people with OCD … Continue reading

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Is OCD a brain disorder?

Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part of the brain and its deeper structures. These brain structures use several chemical messengers, including serotonin. Drugs that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain often reduce … Continue reading

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Is OCD inherited?

Research shows that OCD does run in families and that genes likely play a role in the development of the disorder. Genes appear to be only partly responsible for causing the disorder. No one really knows what other factors might … Continue reading

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At what age does OCD begin?

OCD can start at any time from preschool to adulthood. Although OCD does occur at earlier ages, there are generally two age ranges when OCD first appears. The first range is between ages 10 and 12, and the second is … Continue reading

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How common is OCD?

Our best estimates are that about 1 in 100 adults—or between 2–3 million adults in the United States—currently have OCD. This is roughly the same number of people living in the city of Houston, Texas. Lifetime estimates (the number of … Continue reading

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How is OCD diagnosed?

Only a trained professional can properly recognize and diagnose OCD. A questionnaire, called the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) is also a useful tool for assessing OCD symptoms.

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Why do patients perform these compulsions?

The compulsions (also referred to as rituals) provide short-term relief from the distress triggered by obsessions. However, this short-term relief comes at the expense of long-term problems as the lives of individuals with OCD become increasingly dominated by the compulsions.

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Common Compulsions in OCD

Excessive hand-washing or bathing Excessive cleaning Counting Mental rituals, such as excessive repeating of thoughts or prayers Excessive repeating of activities or words Touching or checking items repeatedly, such as door locks or appliances Arranging or ordering items or belongings … Continue reading

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Common Obsessions in OCD

Contamination—body fluids, germs/disease, environmental contaminants, chemicals, dirt Fear of being responsible for something terrible happening because of not being careful enough—dropping something on the ground that someone might slip on and hurt themselves Religious obsessions (also called scrupulosity)—concern with offending … Continue reading

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What is OCD?

OCD is a disorder of the brain and behavior. Individuals with OCD experience automatic and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) which trigger high levels of anxiety. The individual responds to these obsessions by engaging in repetitive acts (compulsions) in an attempt to … Continue reading

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