Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Epidemiology


  • Prevalence of OCD = 3.5% (Males 1.7%, Females 5.3%)
  • Prevalence of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (OCSDs) = 9.7% ( Males 1.7%, Females 5.3%)


OCD is more commonly seen in females.

Female : Male = 1.5 : 1

***Females have more common contaminatiom/ cleansing symptom pattern.

***Males have more common intrusive/ forbidden thoughts and symmetry/ ordering symptom pattern.

Males are more prone to be associated with significant interference in life.

Age of Onset:

Mean age at onset = Late adolescence.

Early Onset OCD : more common in males. Nearly 25% of males have an onset before the age of 10years.

Late onset OCD : more common in females. It may include cases of OCD that have been developed:

  • after the exposure to traumatic events (traumatic OCD),
  • in pregnancy
  • after parturition
  • after a miscarriage.

Course of OCD:

OCD is often spontaneous, but in some cases may follow a stressful or traumatic life event (for example pregnancy, labour or accidents etc.)

Course is usually chronic but sometimes can be fluctuating. In the absence of treatment, symptoms may persist for decades. Patient should be encouraged to remain hopeful & take proper treatment.

Those who are married and without comorbid depression, have more chances of remission. Family support also help in achieving remission. But participating in avoiding behaviours can act as a significant barrier to recovery. For example:

  • “I will open the door for you, so you will not need to wash your hands.”
  • ” I will turn the stove off, so you will not need to check it.”

Suicide Rates:

Rates of suicidal ideation range from 20%- 46%. Suicidal ideation may be a symptom of OCD and not a genuine suicidal ideation.


4 thoughts on “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Epidemiology”

  1. Nice Sir
    Wonderful Digest in a Very Easy & Palatable Way
    Thnx Sir
    Distt MentalHealth OfficerAmbala

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