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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where everyday life is disrupted by intrusive thoughts and often repetitive rituals to cope with them, such as excessive hand washing or checking whether doors are locked. This makes it difficult to lead a normal life and is costly to the sufferer and wider society, in terms of lost employment and life opportunities, impact on family, and support and welfare costs.

Medication and psychological treatments can work for relieving symptoms. However, high demand and limited resources mean there can be a wait to receive specialist help. New NIHR research shows promise for using self-help materials combined with modest levels of support from mental health practitioners, while patients wait for more intensive treatment.

Published: July 2017

OCD evidence at a glance

OCD research - evidence at a glance

The findings boiled down, alongside practical questions to consider.

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OCD research

Access to OCD treatment and help

People have a choice of routes when seeking help for OCD. 
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Man reading

What support is available for people with OCD?

Charities and support groups can offer advice, information and help.

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OCD help

Which OCD treatments work best?

NIHR research examined medical and psychological treatments.
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OCD access

About the research

Find out more about the studies in this area and how their findings fit with current guidance.
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of the population affected by OCD

12 years

 average time until people seek and receive treatment for OCD, during which the condition often gets worse


Top ten

in the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranking of the most disabling illnesses of any kind, in terms of lost earnings and reduced quality of life


Related Signals

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