OCD Chicago

OCD is a Treatable Medical Condition
OCD Facts

Facts About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is a neurobiological anxiety disorder. It equally affects men, women and children of all races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.  OCD is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder, after phobias, substance abuse and major depression, affecting about one in 40 adults and one in 100 school-aged children.

What is OCD?

OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions that take up an excessive amount of time—typically an hour or more each day – and cause significant distress.

Movies and television programs sometimes feature characters that are supposed to have OCD.  Perhaps well-meaning but exaggerated, perhaps written as embarrassing comedy, these characters do not accurately portray people with OCD.  People with OCD know that it’s no laughing matter.

Obsessions are uncontrollable, persistent worries, doubts, or fears that significantly interfere with normal life. They are intrusive and create unbearable anxiety.  People who have OCD feel compelled to perform repetitive activities – compulsions—in an attempt to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions.

Compulsions may be either physical or mental rituals that are performed over and over again in an attempt to control the obsession. But unfortunately, any relief that the compulsive actions provide is only temporary and reinforces the original obsession. It becomes a cycle that is difficult for an OCD sufferer to break without professional help. nät casino

A person who does not have OCD can filter out recurring thoughts, such as a concern over germ contamination in public places.  People who have OCD and are obsessed with germ contamination cannot stop thinking about germs.  But repeated washing does not relieve their anxiety—it reinforces the obsession.

Far too often, people with OCD suffer in silence, unaware that their symptoms are caused by a biological problem.  Just as with many other illnesses, like asthma or diabetes, people with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms.  Appropriate treatment produces changes in the brain so that it functions more normally by weakening old neurological pathways and strengthening new ones. casino croupier en direct

And fortunately, the medical profession is continuing to find ways to understand and treat OCD.  The prognosis for people who suffer with OCD is more hopeful than ever before.

The DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision) provides clinicians with official definitions of and criteria for diagnosing mental disorders and dysfunctions.  Read the Clinical Definition of OCD

Who is Affected by OCD?

Millions of people are affected by OCD.  Current estimates are that one in 40 adults and one in 100 school-aged children have this condition.  This is between two to three percent of the U.S. population.

Learn more about who is affected by OCD

How Can I Tell If It’s OCD?

OCD obsessions are persistent and uncontrollable worries, fears or doubts.  They are intrusive, unwanted and disturbing.  Most people with OCD are frustrated by the obsessions, and often recognize that the obsessions—and the resulting compulsions—are irrational.

People who have OCD feel compelled to perform certain mental or physical rituals (compulsions) over and over and over again to feel some measure of relief from the continuing anxiety, fears or doubts caused by the obsessions.

Learn more about OCD symptoms

What OCD Isn’t

To understand what OCD is, it’s also important to understand what OCD is NOT.  “OCD” is sometimes incorrectly used as a catch-all term to describe “obsessive” behaviors.

Learn more about what OCD isn’t

What Causes OCD?

Current research reveals that the brain of someone who has OCD functions differently than the brain of someone who does not have OCD.

Learn more about what causes OCD

What Doesn’t Cause OCD casino en ligne

It’s only human nature to want to know what causes an illness.  OCD is often misunderstood and, while researchers are now able to see physical differences in brain function in people with OCD, it’s also important to know what DOESN’T cause this disorder.

Learn more about what doesn’t cause OCD


No laboratory test exists that can identify OCD.  A qualified mental health professional can diagnose the disorder by conducting a specific type of interview.  Most use the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), which is a questionnaire about obsessions and compulsions. 

Although not a substitute for accurate diagnosis by a qualified mental health professional, you can take a self-screening test to evaluate symptoms you may be experiencing.

Learn more about the OCD self-screening test

What Other Conditions May Be Related to OCD?

Some conditions that may coexist with OCD are thought to be biologically linked to the disorder, as part of an obsessive compulsive “spectrum”.  Those conditions are:

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • Trichotillomania
  • Skin-Picking
  • Nail Biting

There are other mental health conditions that may be seen accompanying OCD.  These conditions are not OCD, but also should be treated.  These related conditions include:

  • Major Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Tourette Syndrome or Tic Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Asperger Syndrome

Learn more about related conditions

What Kind of OCD Treatment Should I Look For?

Getting relief is possible with treatment available today.  While there is no cure for OCD, the most effective and scientifically supported treatment is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).  This treatment is recommended by nationally recognized institutions such as the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.

Learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Choosing A Therapist

Only a qualified cognitive behavior therapist can provide effective, appropriate treatment for OCD.  Many psychotherapists do not have the proper training to diagnose and treat OCD despite other impressive credentials.  Before committing to treatment with any therapist, ask questions to help determine if he or she is competent to treat this disorder.

Learn more about choosing a therapist

Treatment Challenges

Getting effective treatment can help most people with OCD achieve significant relief from their symptoms and regain significant control over their daily lives.  Unfortunately, getting the appropriate treatment, sticking with a treatment plan and maintaining treatment gains can be challenging.  Knowing what to expect ahead of time can make a big difference in your success.

Learn more about treatment challenges

Medication free slots

Medication may be recommended in conjunction with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).  Medication can help lower the anxiety associated with the obsessions, and can help lower the urge to perform the compulsive behavior.  But while many people enjoy some relief from their symptoms while on medication, very few are able to use medication alone to eliminate symptoms entirely.

Learn more about medication and OCD

Getting Help

OCD Chicago serves adults and children with OCD, their families and the mental health professionals who treat them.  We provide:

Information and support: Contact us for help in learning about OCD, Chicago-area treatment providers, and support groups.

Interaction:  Contact us to discuss your questions about OCD with an OCD-knowledgeable staff member.

Publications:  download copies of our popular and highly-acclaimed OCD Guides.

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