Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder News

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental and behavioral disorder characterized by the tendency to obsess over minute life details or rituals to the point that they become overwhelming and greatly affect quality of life. The disorder often develops during the teen or early adult years.

Everyone has a tendency to obsess about things from time to time, such as making sure to have a wallet and keys. But for people with OCD, the repetitive checking on tiny life details like this can become all-consuming and lead to additional problems.

Symptoms of OCD

A few characteristics clearly distinguish OCD from run-of-the-mill worrying. People with OCD, for example, may develop real fear and anxiety over the thoughts running through their heads. The fears may be somewhat irrational, such as a fear of germs and being dirty or thoughts of performing forbidden sexual acts or acting out violently. The fears and thoughts sometimes play themselves out over and over again and cannot be controlled.

People with OCD also replay certain actions over and over again, sometimes irrationally. They may lock the door and then unlocking it repeatedly, or they may wash their hands over and over.

If these thoughts and rituals eat up an hour of the day or more, then the person may have OCD. For many, the symptoms evolve to the point of almost nonstop anxiety that can greatly affect their lives and well-being.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder can often be treated successfully, generally with a combination of medication and therapy. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Though neither medication is specifically for OCD, they have been shown to help with a number of the symptoms. The type of therapy that's most often recommended for OCD is cognitive behavioral therapy.

However, a variety of medications and therapy have success records in treating OCD so the best approach for someone with the disorder is to work closely with a doctor to find the right combination of treatments to ensure success.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institute of Mental Health; International OCD Foundation

Date Posted
Article Title
Could Brain Scans Help Guide Treatment for OCD?

Small study suggests neural activity can point to patients who'll benefit most from psychotherapy

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Study finds boredom, frustration, impatience fuel repetitive, body-focused behaviors in certain people

Scans May Spot People Who'll Benefit From Surgery for OCD

MRI looks at a brain structure in patients who haven't benefited from standard treatments

People With OCD May Have Higher Odds for Schizophrenia: Study

But the absolute risk to any one person with obsessive-compulsive disorder remains very small, experts say

Most People Have Unwanted Thoughts, International Study Finds

Difference for people with OCD is how they react, experts say

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94 percent of people experience obsessive-cumpulsive thoughts, new study finds.

'Exposure Therapy' Along With Antidepressants May Help With OCD

SSRI drugs found effective, but study raps risperidone

Canine Research Sheds Light on OCD in Humans

Scientists found same areas of brain were changed in dogs and people with compulsive disorder

Latest Edition of Psychiatry's 'Bible' Launched Amid Controversy

Authors say it defines disorders more concisely; critics say it will lead to over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatments

Motherhood May Spur Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior in Some

Symptoms usually temporary, half of the women studied reported improvements after 6 months

Scientists Pinpoint How Deep Brain Stimulation Eases OCD

MRI scans showed it normalized activity in areas of brain related to reward

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Women with anxiety disorders 3.5 times more likely to report abuse

Genetic Studies Give Clues to Tourette Syndrome, OCD

But specific genes for the mental health conditions have yet to be pinpointed

DNA Links

Researchers identify genetic factors for both Tourette syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Brain Scans of 'Hoarders' Show Unique Abnormalities

Researchers say finding shows behavior is different from other obsessive-compulsive disorders

Sleepwalking in Adults More Common Than Thought

Large study found nearly 4 percent wander at night, often tied to mental woes

Brain Surgery Might Ease Tough-to-Treat OCD

Long-term study shows cingulotomy helped improve severe obsessive-compulsive symptoms

Mixed Results Seen With 'Off-Label' Use of Antipsychotics

Non-FDA-approved use of drugs showed limited benefits and some harm in large review

Adding Psychotherapy to Meds Helps Kids With OCD

But the therapy can be hard to find in many communities, researchers note

When Protecting Baby Becomes an Obsession

Ritualistic behaviors common to moms with postpartum OCD are preventable, researchers say

Immune System Troubles Could Spark Behavior Woes

Fixing gene connected to immune system cured 'hair-pulling' disorder in mice, study found

Gene Mutation in Mice Sheds Light on Autism

Drugs targeting obsessive behavior might hold promise for people

Compulsive Dogs Yield Clues to Human OCD, Autism

Repetitive flank-sucking in Dobermans and hand-washing in humans could share similar DNA, researchers say

For Tourette Syndrome, Implanted Device May Help

Deep brain stimulation reduced tics in small study

Study Debunks Link Between Strep and Brain Disorders

Infection rates are found to be no higher among those with OCD or Tourette syndrome

For OCD, Not Helping Might Be Best

Well-meaning assistance may do more harm than good, experts say

Tourette Syndrome Diagnosed in 3 in Every 1,000 Kids

Many more cases have not been identified, U.S. health officials say

Implanted Device Approved for Severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Reclaim device delivers electrical stimulation to the brain

Memory Lapses Come When 2 Parts of Brain Compete

Researchers say finding could lead to treatment for compulsive, addictive disorders

Children as Young as 4 Can Develop OCD

Full-blown obsessive symptoms seen in both younger, older children, study finds

Buyers Spend More With Non-Cash Purchases

Researchers say it's the 'pain of paying' that drives consumer choices

Brain Scans Show Heightened Risk for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Found less activity in region that curbs habitual thinking, researchers say

Parkinson's Drugs Again Linked to Compulsive Disorders

Impulsive gambling, shopping, sex and binge eating common among patients, study shows

Compulsive Gamblers Don't Learn From Their Mistakes

Study finds they have a mental rigidity that keeps them from folding their cards

Shop-Till-You-Drop Season Scary for Some

Holidays are especially difficult for compulsive shoppers, experts say

Sleep Apnea in Children Linked to Lower IQ Scores, Learning Impairment

Whether damage is permanent or reversible needs further investigation, study says

Genetic Findings Shed Light on OCD

Protein regulating glutamate flow may explain why anxiety disorder runs in families

Parrots Aren't Parroting Bad Behavior

Research found genetics and stress, not mimicry, were behind compulsive behavior

Behavior Therapy Urged for Kids with OCD

Combination with drugs most effective for compulsive behavior, finds study

Personality Disorders Common in U.S.

Survey finds 31 million American adults have at least one

Terrorism's Toll Lingers

Anthrax survivors suffer long after attack, finds study

Stifling the Urge to Shop

Antidepressant helps people curb compulsion to buy things

Dark Thoughts About Baby Plague New Parents

Fathers are affected too, a new study shows

New Treatment for Severe OCD

Deep brain stimulation offers relief from compulsive disorder, but has side effects

Reward Mechanism Found in Brain

Malfunction can cause obsession, addiction

Obsessive Behavior

It varies from person to person