Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a neurobiological disorder which is characterized by obsessions, or unwanted and intrusive thoughts, as well as compulsions. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental rituals that are generally utilized to diminish the distress and anxiety associated with obsessions. Symptoms are significant enough that they interfere with daily functioning, relationships with others and life goals.
Current research indicates that approximately 3% of the general population is experiencing symptoms of OCD. This means that one out 40 people have OCD.
There are several categories of OCD including, checking, washing/cleaning, ordering/arranging, pure obsessions, intrusive aggressive/disturbing thoughts, scrupulosity and hoarding.
The vast majority, 65% of individuals, will develop OCD before the age of 25, typically in childhood and adolescence. Onset is typically gradual unless it is related to a possible diagnosis of PANDAS.
The most prominent theory of the cause of OCD is abnormal levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
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