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OCD: Epidemiology and aetiology

The epidemiology and aetiology of OCD.

Epidemiology

  • OCD is observed in males and females in approximately equal proportions.
  • Prevalence may be as high as 1% to 3% in adults and 1% to 2% in childhood/ adolescence (especially just before the onset of puberty).
  • Many adult sufferers report symptoms appearing for the first time in childhood or adolescence.
  • Men more frequently present with checking rituals and women are more likely to display compulsive washing. 
  • The course of OCD is usually chronic but may vary in severity in response to stress. 
  • Many individuals do not present to healthcare professionals until early in middle age. 

 Aetiology

  • Multifactorial in origin.
  • Includes environmental and hereditary factors.
  • Brain imaging studies have identified the basal ganglia and orbitofrontal cortex to be involved in the development of OCD.

 

 

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