Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) Statistics
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a mental health condition characterised by a range of obsessions and compulsions. A common type of OCD would involve a patient that has an obsession about dirt and germs and a compulsion to constantly clean. Another may involve a person having an unhealthy focus on order and tidiness leading them to obsess about keeping things like furniture and objects in specific positions.
OCD is, however, much more wide ranging than these common examples. The condition can also involve having intrusive and constant sexual thoughts or excessive moral or religious doubts. The compulsions that accompany these obsessions are repetitive behaviours that need to be performed to allay anxieties. They can have a big impact on how a person goes about their daily lives. Unlike other mental health issues, those suffering from OCD are more often aware that their behaviour is out of the ‘ordinary’. It can lead to the development of other problems such as depression or lack of self-worth when the obsession can’t be controlled.
Because it is sometimes kept hidden, OCD remains one of the most under-diagnosed mental health problems in the world. In the West, in particular, awareness has been raised about the condition and a mix of medication and treatment such as cognitive behaviour therapy can make a big difference to sufferers.
OCD is a global mental health issue and is present in all societies and cultures:
- Across the world, an average of 2.3% of the population suffers from OCD.
- The symptoms of OCD can worsen because of stress, illness and tiredness.
- Research has shown that there is a strong genetic aspect to OCD.
- It’s not unusual for those with another mental health problem to have OCD. 30% of those with a bipolar disorder also have an obsessive compulsive disorder.
- OCD can cause mental health issues such as depression – clinical samples have demonstrated that between 30% and 43% of patients who have OCD have comorbid depression.
In the USA:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder affects about 1-2.3% of the population of which half the cases are designated as severe.
- Estimates are that 3.3 million people suffer from OCD but it could be as high as 6%.
- It’s thought that only a small percentage (10%) of those suffering from OCD are likely to seek treatment.
- OCD is prevalent in all ethnic groups and in men and women. The incidence of it in young boys is greater than in young girls and occurs at an earlier age.
- Almost a half of those diagnosed with OCD can trace the beginnings of their condition back to childhood.
- 75% of those diagnosed with OCD who underwent psychotherapy found that it helped their condition.
In the UK:
- 2% of the population will have OCD at some point or another. That means over 750,000 people are living with condition right now.
- About 130,000 young people suffer with OCD each year.
- 60% of people with OCD improve after they have been given medication, reducing their symptoms by about a half.
Around the rest of the world, there are similar stories:
- Research on OCD prevalence has been low in countries such as India but the studies undertaken suggest that the incidence is a little lower than in countries such as the USA at 0.6%. This may be because of the standard of the research and levels could well be higher than thought.
- In China, Traditional Chinese Medicine such as acupuncture is regularly used as treatment for mental health conditions such as OCD.
How Common is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Key Facts