Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, affects an average 1.7% of the population according to the Stanford University School of Medicine. The recognition of this psychological disorder has grown in the recent years. As the knowledge of this disorder becomes more prevalent, those suffering have become more willing to seek help (OCDA).
OCD is a condition “in which people experience repetitive and upsetting thoughts and/or behaviors” (OCDA). While there are many variation of the disease, those suffering from OCD show signs in either or both of two categories: obsession and compulsion. The obsessive factor varies from thoughts to images or to impulses. These obsessions are often frequent, upsetting, and difficult to get rid of. An example might be an unreasonable fear about germs, dirt, and/or contamination. According to a study by Rasmussen and Eisen in 1992, it is most common for people to suffer from multiple obsessions (Stanford). There is a large range of what these obsessions might be.
Similar to obsession, the compulsion factor also has many different variations. Compulsions are common ways for those suffering from OCD to cope with the stresses due to an obsession (OCDA). They are defined as “repetitive and seemingly purposeful behaviors or mental acts performed to rigid rules” (Stanford). Those inflicted are often subjected to these acts such as repetitive washing, counting, or praying. However, the completion of these acts still offers little relief and no pleasure.
Many more than 1.7% of the population suffers from similar experiences and/or thoughts. Nearly everyone has double checked if they locked a door or put something away. The difference is when these repetitive acts get in the way of life. While “most people are able to dismiss these thoughts”, those with this disorder are unable to ignore them. While it is important to remember that all cases are different, all people suffering with OCD “pay undue attention” stressing over issues. This undue attention in turn immobilizes them in a variety of areas in their lives (OCDA).
OCD affects a wide range of people, young and old alike. Most cases show signs prior to age 25 (Stanford). Almost all adults that are diagnosed with OCD have said that “they had their first symptoms as children” (OCDA). The earlier onset of OCD symptoms, the more likely it is that the disorder will become more serious. According to the Stanford University School of Medicine, on average men show signs and symptoms earlier than most women who are inflicted with OCD. This is often one to three years earlier. Nevertheless, major symptoms of OCD showed before age 15 in about in about one-third of all those inflicted and in about two-thirds by age 25 (Stanford).
The answer to what causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not a simple one. Studies have shown a clear link to it being a biologically based...