Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental condition in which the affected individual develops several unrealistic fears and thoughts (obsessions) and performs several tasks or behaviors religiously (compulsions) (Hemmings, 2006). OCD is a type of anxiety disorder, which is predominately characterized by the presence of anxiety. The individual does not develop a realistic form of thinking, and will not be able to understand that their thoughts and actions are unreasonable. The obsessions that the individual may be having and the behaviors that are demonstrated are often centered on one particular theme.
The compulsive actions are usually performed as a mean of reducing distress associated with the development of unreasonable thoughts. Some of the actions or behaviors that are performed include hand washing, cleaning, doing repeated and manual tasks, checking the doors and locks, etc. Often the concerns of the individual may be excessive and irrational (Ayuso-Mateos, 2000). The problem associated with the obsessions and compulsions are so excessive that they tend to interfere with the normal functioning at the home, school, workplace, or in social settings.
The individual experiences a lot of distress leading to problems in interpersonal relationships. The condition tends to occur over a chronic period with periods of remission and relapse, but the problem of the individual tends to continue causing professional, interpersonal and social difficulties. In the causes of non-fatal disorders in the entire world, OCD ranks 11th and about 2. 2 % of the entire years of life spend in disability by the individuals across the world is due to OCD. This statistics of OCD is the same as schizophrenia, if not more frequent (Ayuso-Mateos, 2000).
At the moment, the data obtained from various epidemiological studies may not show the same pattern as that of OCD. In epidemiological studies, many of the participants were aware or not accepting that they were in fact suffering from OCD, whereas in the clinical studies, the patients who were participating were affected with the symptoms of OCD and came to obtain relieve (Mohammadi, 2004).
Earlier results obtained from studies have demonstrated that in a community the frequency of OCD was about 0. 1 % or 0. 01 %. The lifetime occurrence of OCD in a characteristic population of Canada was about 2. 9 %. The six-month occurrence of OCD was about 0. 7 % to 2. 1 %. In the US, using a ‘house to house’ surveying method, the lifetime occurrence of OCD was found to be between 2 to 3 %. OCD clearly occurs more frequently compared to schizophrenia. In the US, OCD is the fourth most frequent mental disorder. In several other countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Korea, Germany, etc, the prevalence of OCD per year was about 1. 9 to 2. 5 %. Amongst these, the rates were comparably lower in Taiwan than other countries (Mohammadi, 2004).
In a study conducted in Iran to determine the prevalence of OCD in adults, several factors such as age, sex, marital status, education levels, socioeconomic status, etc, had to be taken into consideration. More than 25000 individuals belonged to the study, and the DSM-IV-TR and the Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS) tools were utilized as methods to categorize the individuals into OCD. More than 25 psychologists conducted the interview. In the study it was found that about 50 % were male, 54% female, 29 % unmarried, 67% married, 2. 5 % widows and 0. 5 % divorced. The disorder began at the same age in both the sexes (21. 27 years).
The mean rate of incidence of OCD in the population was found to be about 1. 8 % (Mohammadi, 2004). In another study in Germany, the lifetime incidence was found to be about 0. 5 %, the annual incidence about 0. 39 %. In Edmonton, the lifetime prevalence of OCD was found to be 2. 9 % and the monthly prevalence was about 1. 6%. The various factors that were assessed in the Iran study demonstrated significant importance in the development and the progression of OCD (Mohammadi, 2004).
In a child population in the US, the OCD prevalence was found to be about 2 to 4 %. The lifetime prevalence in the US varied from 1. 9 % to 3 %. In other parts of the world, the prevalence of OCD varied from 2. 3 % to 4. 1 %. In children, the prevalence of OCD is not lower than adults, but the outcome may vary from that of adults. Studies have demonstrated that as the prevalence of OCD in adults does not rise, the symptoms of OCD tend to die out slowly when children become older (Geller, 2006).