Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness. It consists of unwanted, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). The person with OCD does not feel able to control this. It can disrupt daily functions.
The exact cause of OCD is not known. The nervous system, environment, and genes may play a role.
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Things that may raise the risk of OCD are:
Symptoms of OCD may be:
OCD may happen with:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms. OCD is diagnosed when symptoms:
The goal is to reduce unwanted thoughts and compulsions. Early treatment can have better results. Options may be:
Sometimes OCD is severe and hard to treat. In this case, options may be:
There are no steps for preventing OCD.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
International OCD Foundation
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Arya S, Filkowski MM, et al. Deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Bull Menninger Clin. 2019;83(1):84-96.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd . Accessed March 12, 2021.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Accessed March 12, 2021.
7/15/2016 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114503/Obsessive-compulsive-disorder-OCD : Fontenelle LF, Coutinho ES, Lins-Martins NM, Fitzgerald PB, Fujiwara H, Yücel M. Electroconvulsive therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder: a systematic review. J Clin Psychiatry. 2015;76(7):949-957.
11/6/2018 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114503/Obsessive-compulsive-disorder-OCD : FDA permits marketing of transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm617244.htm.
Last reviewed January 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 03/12/2021