How Common Is OCD

According to the estimations made by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1.2% of adults are affected by OCD in the United States. Which makes OCD a relatively common mental health disorder. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1% of the world population has OCD. Some statistical data on various platforms also reveals that a condition like OCD is prevalent in 1 in 100 adults, while in children, it is 1 in 200.  

At what age does the onset happen? 

OCD can occur at any age, but the period of adolescence and early adulthood are the ages when the condition usually begins developing and a change in behavior is seen. To be precise, the average age for onset of OCD is 19 according to the data released by the International OCD Foundation.  

What does OCD look like? 

OCD is a common mental health condition that is characterized by persisting intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses, which compel the individual to perform some behaviors or rituals. The thoughts, images, or impulses develop obsessions among such individuals due to their repetitive occurrence. Moreover, These obsessions may vary in severity. Some might be able to manage their obsessions, but most people cannot overcome their obsessions.  
OCD is a chronic mental health condition, which can be temporarily managed and cannot be cured. It is a lifetime condition, and the individual has to keep managing and controlling their obsessions and behaviors throughout their life. The obsessions might change after some time and the symptoms might come and go. Also, the condition might become serious, which can cause distress.   
Their obsessions push them to take some action. If they resist doing so, they may experience extreme anxiety. Moreover, This anxiety can compel them to perform some behavior to relieve their anxiety. They might repeat the same behavior several times until the anxiety goes away and they feel some temporary relief. It can take too much of their time and energy and cause exhaustion.  

Symptoms of OCD obsessions  

  • Fear of getting contaminated with germs and bacteria. 
  • Obsessing over symmetry or perfectionism. 
  • Uncontrolled intrusive thoughts about violence, accidents, sex, etc. 
  • Fear of hurting others and self. 
  • Fear of embarrassment.  
  • Symptoms of OCD compulsions 
  • Fear of committing some mistake. 
  • Washing and cleaning hands repeatedly 
  • Counting   
  • Arranging things in order 
  • Following a routine 
  • Checking something over and over 

Causes of OCD 

As per the International OCD Foundation website, a mental health condition like OCD can be attributed to genetic factors. It might run in the families. Some genetic makeup might get passed on from generation to generation, which makes the offspring more likely to develop OCD at any age. Therefore, one might develop this condition through inheritance.   
Other factors that are likely to cause OCD can be chronic stress, hormonal changes, brain abnormalities or impairments, and the environment. There isn’t any strong research evidence that can firmly state that these factors are responsible for leading to OCD, however, they can be contributing factors to the same.   

Treatments available for OCD 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – It is a form of psychotherapy wherein the individual will be given talk therapy by their therapist. They have to work closely with their therapist, which will unfold the root cause of all their obsessions. Moreover, This analysis will help in identifying the triggers that cause the obsessive thoughts. The sessions are structured in a way that helps the individual understand the factors that worsen obsessions and compulsions, and the psychotherapist helps them overcome the triggers in an efficient manner.   
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP)

ERP is a form of CBT. The exposure part involves the confrontation of thoughts, images, and impulses that provoke the individuals to become completely obsessed and repeat some behaviors. The response prevention part involves the avoidance of compulsive behaviors when the anxiety gets triggered after obsessions.  
  • Medications

Your therapist will prescribe antidepressant drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Moreover, These drugs make the symptoms of OCD less severe and easy to manage.  
Those who fail to seek professional treatment may experience worse symptoms of OCD, which can cause distress, exhaustion, and mental agony. To cope with these, some might even do substance abuse, which in turn, exacerbates their OCD symptoms even more.  
People who mostly remain stressed and depressed are more likely to develop this mental health condition. Stress is common but chronic stress can lead to other mental health issues, which can increase the susceptibility to serious mental disorders like OCD. One must learn to manage stress.  


Moreover, the condition can also make it harder for the members of the family, relatives, and friends of the OCD patient. They might as well face difficulties due to that. The families may sometimes fail to understand what causes the individual to behave in a certain way, which can frustrate them. This is why it is necessary for everyone to gain awareness regarding the condition.  
Furthermore, joining a support group or community can be an excellent option for an individual having OCD. In that way, they will be able to connect with people who are facing the same issues as them. Moreover, This will encourage them to take the right actions in dealing with their difficulties. Also, such individuals may not feel isolated and become aware of their triggers, which will help them in managing them effectively.

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