Is OCD Common?

Skipping a family birthday party to clean your kitchen for the second time that day or being preoccupied with how canned food is stocked in the pantry could be signs of a mental health condition known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s a serious condition if ignored, but the symptoms are treatable.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.” Fortunately, most symptoms can be treated with medicine.

What are the Symptoms?

OCD is comprised of obsession and compulsion symptoms. But it’s also feasible to have symptoms of one or the other, not both. Some people don’t even realize their obsessions and compulsions are extreme or irrational, but they may consume large chunks of time and interfere with every aspect of daily life.

Obsessions May Include:

  • You’re afraid of becoming contaminated or dirty
  • You have doubts and problems controlling uncertainty
  • You have an overwhelming desire to have things organized and symmetrical
  • You may experience aggressive or gruesome thoughts about becoming unhinged and hurting yourself or someone else
  • You have unwelcome thoughts, involving aggression, or adult or religious subjects

Compulsions May Include:

  • You wash and scrub your hands your skin is visibly raw
  • You’re compelled to check doors frequently to ensure they’re locked
  • You think you smell gas, and check the furnace to make sure it’s working properly
  • You count things in specific patterns
  • You quietly recite a prayer, word, or saying
  • Your canned goods have to be arranged so the labels face outwards

Just about all of us have obsessions and compulsive behaviors sometimes or in specific situations, but with OCD they consume greater than an hour daily and drive problems with school, work, or socially. If you have OCD, you normally get anxiety and other grief around your urge to accommodate your obsessions or compulsions.

Is OCD Common?

Nearly half the time, OCD becomes obvious during childhood or adolescence, with most other cases presenting in early adulthood. It’s uncommon for OCD to begin after you turn 40, but not unheard of. Studies indicate it starts earlier in males but is slightly more common in adult females. Here are other facts about the condition:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects 2.2 million adults, or one percent of the U.S. population.
  • OCD happens nearly equally among men and women.
  • If you have OCD, it probably started when you were 19 years old, with almost one quarter of cases happening by age 14. Studies indicate that one-third of impacted adults experienced symptoms as children.

What Causes OCD?

Like other mental health conditions, the exact cause of OCD is nebulous at best. But there are educated opinions about its complex origin story.

Diagnosis & Treatment

There are normally three steps involved to diagnose OCD:

  • Psychiatric assessment to discuss your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and symptom patterns as triggers for obsessions or compulsions and whether they inhibit your quality of life. Your healthcare provider may ask your permission to talk to family or friends.
  • Reviewing the diagnostic criteria for OCD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), printed by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • Physical examination where a doctor will try to rule out other problems which might trigger your symptoms and uncover any related complications.

Treatment could involve psychotherapy or medicine like ketamine.

Final Thoughts THOUGHTS

OCD affects millions of people. It’s more than just being identified with odd behavior or personality quirks. It’s a serious condition that can negatively impact all facets of your life if not cared for properly. To talk about treatment options that may help you find relief, reach out to us today.


Can OCD Be Cured?

Like all other mental health conditions, OCD does not have a known cure at this time. That said, there are treatments and forms of therapy that help alleviate the symptoms and bring you to a place of mindfulness and acceptance.

OCD (which stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is a mental health condition characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts that make you feel compelled to carry out ritualistic behaviors. Trying to ignore these obsessions will only increase your overall distress and anxiety.

The 5 Symptom Subtypes of OCD

Generally speaking, most symptoms will fall into one of these five subtypes, but they are not mutually exclusive and your symptoms may change over time.

  • Contamination Obsessions with Washing and Cleaning Compulsions: Those suffering from this type of OCD will typically focus on feelings of discomfort brought on by feelings of germs and contamination and will wash and clean excessively.
  • Harm Obsessions with Checking Compulsions: Those experiencing this symptom subtype tend to have intense thoughts regarding possible harm that could be brought on to them or others and will use intense checking rituals to try to relieve their distress.
  • Obsessions Without Visible Compulsions: This subtype is characterized by unwanted obsessions regarding sexual, religious, or aggressive themes. Triggers related to these obsessions are usually avoided.
  • Symmetry Obsessions with Ordering, Arranging, and Counting Compulsions: This subtype is characterized by feeling a strong need to rearrange objects constantly. This also involves thinking or saying sentences or words over and over again until you feel it has been set absolutely perfectly.
  • Hoarding: Those with this symptom subtype collect items of little or no value until their own living space is filled with so much clutter it becomes difficult to live in. This is frequently accompanied by obsessive fears of losing items that you feel may be needed someday in the future.


Obsessions are persistent, intrusive thoughts, feelings, or images that give you stress or anxiety. If you have OCD, you may try to get rid of these obsessions by performing a compulsive ritual. Obsessions usually intrude in your everyday life, often getting in the way of your day-to-day activities.

Examples of obsessions include the following:

  • Fear of contamination
  • Needing things orderly and symmetrical
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Unwanted thoughts, including sexual or religious subjects

Signs and symptoms of obsession also include:

  • Fear of contamination when touching objects someone else may have touched
  • Intense stress when objects are not perceived as orderly
  • Intrusive images or thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else
  • Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting otherwise inappropriately
  • Avoidance of situations that may trigger your obsessions
  • Distress about unpleasant sexual images repeating in your mind


Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that people with OCD feel they must perform. Typically, these compulsions are done to reduce anxiety from obsessive thoughts, but these compulsions usually provide temporary relief only.

Examples of compulsion signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Hand-washing until your skin becomes raw
  • Checking doors to make sure they’re locked
  • Checking the stove to make sure it’s turned off
  • Counting in repetitive patterns
  • Silently repeating a prayer, word, or phrase

Ketamine for OCD

Ketamine, first approved by the FDA as an anesthetic, has been shown in recent years to treat mood disorders like OCD with rapid results. Ketamine is thought to play a role in the treatment of mood disorders through its influence on glutamate, a neurotransmitter that mediates the response to stress and traumatic memories.

To learn more about ketamine and its use as OCD treatment, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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