Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterised by obsessions, compulsions, or both.

Obsessions are recurring, persistent, unwanted, anxiety-provoking, intrusive ideas, images, or urges.

Compulsions (also called rituals) are certain actions or mental acts that individuals feel driven to repeatedly perform to try to lessen or prevent the anxiety caused by the obsessions.

Most obsessive-compulsive behaviour is related to concerns about harm or risk.

Medical professionals diagnose the disorder when a person has obsessions, compulsions, or both.

Treatment may include exposure therapy (with prevention of compulsive rituals) and certain antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or clomipramine).

OCD is slightly more common among women than men and affects about 1 to 2% of the population.

On average, OCD begins at about age 19 to 20 years, but over 25% of cases begin before age 14.

Up to 30% of individuals with OCD have had or have a tic disorder.

OCD differs from psychotic disorders, in which individuals lose contact with reality.

OCD also differs from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, although individuals with these disorders may have some of the same characteristics, such as being orderly or reliable or being a perfectionist.

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