Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an illness characterized by recurrent obsessions and uncontrolled compulsions such as repetitive behavioral or mental acts ("rituals") that are performed in response to these obsessions. These ritualistic behaviors are believed to prevent or produce a future event. However, the rituals themselves have nothing to do with that event.
These obsessions and compulsions are time consuming and can significantly interfere with one's normal daily routine and ability to perform at their occupation. Symptoms may last for years or even decades and continue to progress if untreated.
OCD is thought to affect 2-3% of the general population or 4-6 million persons in the United States. OCD is the fourth most common psychiatric diagnosis in the United States, following phobias, substance abuse, and major depression. Studies have demonstrated a connection between OCD and altered levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
The treatment of OCD has significantly advanced in the past 10 years, and both pharmacologic and behavioral approaches are effective and important components in the management of OCD.
Treatment for OCD is usually multifaceted using both medication and counseling to control both the obsession and compulsion aspects of the disorder. Persons who do not respond well to these basic treatments may be considered candidates for other treatments.
The Medifocus Guide on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of OCD?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing OCD?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of OCD?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of OCD?
What treatment options are available for the management of OCD?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in OCD?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for OCD?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about OCD?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
The internal and external boundaries of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2000
On the pharmacotherapy of obsessive-compulsive disorder: is a consensus possible?. 2000
Neurobiology of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. Biological Psychiatry. 2000
Multiple pathways to inflated responsibility beliefs in obsessional problems: possible origins and implications for therapy and research. Behaviour Research & Therapy. 1999
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1999
The assessment and coordination of treatment of children and adolescents with OCD. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 1999
Postinfectious and other forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 1999
Managing aggressive behavior in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and borderline personality disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1999
Understanding and treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Behaviour Research & Therapy. 1999
Posttraumatic obsessive-compulsive disorder: a three-factor model. Psychiatry. 1999
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