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Overview of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a very common condition affecting over one in every hundred individuals in the general population, including children and adolescents [ref]. As the name suggests, it describes a syndrome where people suffer from uncontrollable obsessions, which are unwanted thoughts and impulses, and compulsions, which are overwhelming urges to perform certain actions, usually as a way to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions.

These symptoms can be very distressing and disruptive to individuals who suffer from this condition, and the World Health Organization has actually listed OCD among the top ten conditions worldwide that cause the greatest amount of suffering and disability over the course of one's lifetime [ref].

The causes of OCD are not fully understood, but they are probably related to certain genetic factors in combination with environmental triggers like stress or common Streptococcus A bacterial infections. The actual symptoms likely arise due to abnormalities of certain brain functions.

There are various types of treatments that exist for OCD that can help to control the symptoms and sometimes even eliminate the disorder altogether.

 

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Symptoms & Definition