Obsessive compulsive disorder

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) involves persistent and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive actions (compulsions). The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) defines obsessions as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, with associated anxiety or distress. The individual attempts to suppress these obsessions by performing a compulsion; repetitive behaviours (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or thoughts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words). The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming and can cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.

Related disorders include hoarding disorder, excoriation disorder (skin-picking), body dysmorphic disorder (obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance) and trichotillomania (hair-pulling).

What is the evidence for OCD in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate quality evidence suggests the lifetime prevalence of OCD in people with bipolar I or II disorder is around 11-15%, and the current prevalence during euthymia is lower, around 7%. Rates of OCD are higher in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder than in adults with bipolar disorder, and higher rates in the general population than in hospital settings.

April 2019

Last updated at: 6:37 am, 9th April 2019
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