Facts and Statistics

It is estimated in America that more than 3.3 million people are suffering from the behavior associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). That equates to one percent of children and two percent of adults. These numbers demonstrate how prevalent this disorder is today despite the fact that it was once considered to be extremely rare.

obsessive compulsive disorderOCD is an anxiety disorder marked by irrational fears (i.e., obsessions) that drive an individual to engage in repetitive behaviors (i.e., compulsions). Usually individuals with OCD understand their obsessive thoughts are not logical and attempt to disregard them. In an effort to pay no attention to these fears, the individual’s anxiety level builds until they eventually give in to compulsive acts that reduce the stress they feel so intensely. OCD affects over two percent of the adult population, which is a larger statistic than many other major psychological diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or panic disorder. OCD does not discriminate and is found in all races and sexes equally but does occur at a higher rate in boys in the pediatric population.

OCD doesn’t just affect a person’s emotions. OCD behavior can have devastating consequences on all areas of a person’s life. The behaviors surrounding OCD can overtake someone to such an extent that it impacts their personal relationships, education, career and ability to take care of themselves financially. In fact, the direct and indirect costs of OCD have been approximated at more than $8.4 billion a year.

Prevalence of OCD

  • It is estimated that 2.2 million Americans suffer from OCD.
  • Men and women suffer from OCD in equal numbers.
  • OCD usually makes its first appearance in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood.
  • About 30 percent of OCD sufferers first experience signs of the disorder during childhood.
  • Research shows that OCD may be genetic as it commonly runs in families. The presence of certain genetic variations together often produces OCD issues.

Common OCD Obsessions

The objects of obsession for OCD sufferers vary from person to person. Some of the most common include:

  • Cleanliness. Many OCD sufferers are obsessed with dirt, germs, contamination, disease and other health hazards related to an unclean environment.
  • Organization and order. More than just the need to have things in their place, an OCD sufferer will go to extremes labeling things that are obvious and don’t require labeling (e.g., marking where plates or towels go in cabinets and closets), measuring and marking levels of cleaners or food items and arranging items by color groups, height or alphabetically.
  • Fear of attack. Fear of being attacked or becoming the victim of a crime may push some OCD suffers to be overly paranoid about their surroundings and take extreme precautions to avoid being followed, recorded, robbed or attacked.
  • Sexual or violent thoughts. Some OCD sufferers are plagued by unstoppable images or thoughts that are violent or sexual in nature. Whether it is fear or intrigue, some find it impossible to focus on work, relationships or interests other than the obsessive images and thoughts.

Rehab Program Statistics

Many individuals living with OCD are ashamed of their own behavior and suffer in silence. Research statistics state that fewer than 10 percent of people with OCD actually seek treatment for their debilitating behavior. In the past, OCD was thought to have poor success rates from treatment. Contrary to this belief, today’s OCD treatment programs have proven to be highly successful with as many as eight out of 10 people responding well to rehabilitation. The following are different possible components of quality OCD behavior treatment:

  1. Therapy. Different types of therapy are a major element in any OCD rehabilitation program. These therapy techniques may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), family therapy or group therapy.
  2. Relaxation Techniques. Some possible relaxation techniques employed in OCD treatment include breathing exercises, physical exercise, meditation and prayer as well as learning to change one’s inner dialogue.
  3. Medication.Usually, antidepressants are used to reduce the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors of OCD by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. On very rare occasions, antipsychotic medication may be prescribed as well.
  4. Surgery. Surgery is a last chance resort only if a combination of therapy and medication are not effective. Surgery for OCD is done rarely, but involves the use of radio waves to destroy tissue in a particular circuit in the brain that is thought to be responsible for OCD.

ocd signsTherapy is the most often utilized OCD treatment technique listed above. On average, CBT takes 10 to 20 hours before results start to become evident. Response Prevention Therapy is another option and requires that the patient expose him or herself to their obsession or fear and then not allow themselves to engage in anxiety-reducing behavior. The goal of this therapy is to help the patient understand that the compulsion or discomfort will pass if given time. Response Prevention Therapy has been shown to reduce OCD behavior in more than 80 percent of individuals. Studies have shown that relaxation techniques and the use of medications each reduce OCD behavior in up to 70 percent of individuals. Preliminary research also supports the fact that when these techniques are used simultaneously, the success rates climb even higher.

OCD Treatment Facts

  • Signs and symptoms of OCD can worsen or fade over time or come in waves. For this reason, many do not seek out OCD treatment until they have been living with the disorder for years.
  • There are objective diagnostic tools available that not only help doctors identify OCD but rate its severity so treatment can be personalized.
  • Most people attempt to treat their own symptoms by force of will or by avoiding situations that may trigger OCD responses.
  • More commonly, those who suffer from severe OCD will require pharmacological treatment.
  • Inpatient OCD treatment offers the most comprehensive care and includes medical treatment as well as psychotherapeutic mental health treatment.
  • Exposure-based therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention is an effective form of OCD treatment. Here the OCD sufferer is faced with their anxiety-producing fear repeatedly in an attempt to become more comfortable and realize the irrationality of their fears.
  • Anti-depressant medications are often utilized in OCD treatment.
  • Research into deep-brain stimulation techniques and brain mechanisms under the influence of OCD is breeding new directions in OCD treatment.

Rehabilitation for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD can ruin careers and families if an individual chooses to remain silent about the emotions they are constantly battling. However, if someone finds the strength and courage to admit that they need help and are honest about their struggles with OCD, they can turn their life around dramatically in OCD treatment.

The behaviors that go hand-in-hand with OCD will not just stop on their own. Finding top-notch OCD treatment at the first sign of a problem gives the best chance for a quick and full recovery. The longer a person waits to get rehabilitation for OCD, the more entrenched the fears and compulsions become and the more difficult the behaviors are to dispel.

If you know someone who struggles with OCD behaviors, we can help. Pick up the phone and contact us today. We can provide you with a variety of high-quality OCD treatment programs that match your needs. Don’t wait another day to take back control of your life. Call now.

Additional Statistics