Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was once considered to be a rare untreatable disease, which resulted from flaws in a person's personality and life experiences. It is now known that OCD is common, affecting almost one in every fifty adults and one in every two hundred children. It is estimated that approximately one million Canadians suffer from OCD. OCD affects people regardless of race, gender, or age. A better understanding of the brain has lead researchers to the conclusion that chemical imbalances within the brain, in addition to environmental influences, are responsible for obsessive-compulsive disorders. This realization has lead to a better understanding of the disorder and possible ways to control the symptoms of it.
Two components, which form OCD, are obsessions and compulsions, and help to define exactly this disease. Obsessions are defined as repetitive thoughts or impulses that are considered to be intrusive and disturbing to an individual. Some examples of this are fears of contamination, causing harm to others, and making mistakes.
Compulsions are repetitious behaviors, which result as a response to the obsessions. Some examples of this include washing, counting, touching and checking. At times an individual suffering from OCD realize the excesses of their worries and behaviors and at other times they believe their behavior is completely normal. The obsessions and compulsions cause significant stress, occupy more than an hour a day, and interfere in an individual's social, work or academic activities. Some behavioral changes which may indicate the onset of OCD are constant questioning, need for reassurance, increased concern over minor details, and extreme emotional reactions to difficult times.
OCD affects people of all ethnic groups, of either sex, with research showing slightly more women diagnosed, however there aren't any age restrictions. The onset of OCD can occur at any time from early childhood to adulthood...