Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: What You Need to Know

  •  "A thought connected to OCD is probably more prevalent in my life than any other thought in the course of a day."

                -Howie Mandel, actor and television show host


    Along with more than two million other Americans, Howie Mandel has obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. He was first diagnosed with the disorder as an adult, but remembers having symptoms as a young child. Watch him talk about his OCD.



    While people often jokingly refer to being "so OCD," when someone actually has the disorder it can have an effect on every aspect of their life. A recent study conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) revealed that more than half of adults in the United States who have untreated OCD report that their condition negatively affects all of their relationships, including those at work, at home, and in their personal lives.

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    But there's good news, too: Of those who have received treatment for their OCD, 76 percent said it had a positive impact on their friendships, 67 percent (of those employed) reported a positive effect on their professional relationships, and 62 percent reported positively about their ability to have romantic relationships. Read more results of the study.


    What Exactly Is OCD?

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviors and routines (compulsions) to try to ease their anxiety or distress. Although people with OCD generally know these obsessions and compulsions are irrational and excessive, they feel as if they have little or no control over them. Some people spend many hours a day performing complicated rituals to ward off persistent, unwelcome thoughts, feelings or images or to try to make them go away.



    Many Roads to Recovery

    Read the inspiring story of Diance, whose OCD symptoms began at age 25, but didn't receive a proper diagnosis for 10 years. Now, more than two decades later, after her last session of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Diance calls her recovery from OCD an ongoing process.


    • Watch mental health experts, as well as Howie Mandel and others who live with OCD, talk about the disorder and treatments. These videos appear on www.treatocd.org, a website dedicated to the disorder and a component of Treat It, Don't Repeat It: Break Free From OCD, a national campaign to educate and encourage people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder to seek treatment.


    Help Is Here


    PLEASE NOTE: The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) does not endorse or promote any specific medications or treatments.

Published On: June 23, 2008