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30 Facts About OCD Everyone Should Know

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety condition that involves repetitive, unwanted, and involuntary upsetting, intrusive, or downright frightening thoughts, fears, doubts, mental images, negative emotions, urges (obsessions), and/or behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions may involve fear of dirt, germs, and contamination, fear of harming oneself or others, fear of being robbed, fear of being with the wrong partner or spouse, urges to commit violence or engage in unsavory sexual acts, etc.

OCD is not the punchline of a joke; it is a real condition that can damage or destroy your life. Although most people think they know the ins and outs of OCD – they are, for the most part, fooling themselves. There are so many facets to OCD, that most people, even OCD sufferers do not know everything there is to know about OCD.

Moreover, some people, who think they know all there is to know about OCD, may not know all of the facts. Thus, the creation of this article! This article aims to help you learn more about OCD (the condition – not the myth, joke, catchphrase, etc.). I have compiled 30 facts about OCD that everyone (yes, I mean you too) should know.


Is OCD Really a “Thing?”

Yes, OCD is really a “thing.” More specifically, OCD is a real condition that can wreck lives. OCD is not only a lonely condition but also an extremely powerful one. People, who struggle with this condition, lose a lot – friends, loved ones, romantic partners/spouses, jobs, self-esteem and self-confidence, and even money.

Thus, it is no joking matter. While other people are enjoying their lives to the fullest, people with OCD are hiding – hiding their thoughts and/or behaviors from others for fear of being laughed at, criticized, “silenced,” dismissed, shunned, or ignored.

These individuals are always hiding, which is exhausting. While the general population reduces people with OCD to “quirky” individuals, who demand perfection and who are extremely clean and cautious, the actual condition is far more devastating and far-reaching, than what is commonly shown in sitcoms and movies.

Honestly, no one wants to struggle with OCD. People, who have this anxiety condition, cannot voluntarily shut it down. And, many times, they cannot prevent it, regardless of how hard they try to (i.e., compulsive behaviors). It is not going anywhere – without OCD help. The good news is you can combat OCD with the right OCD treatment. You do not have to be tormented with OCD any long – OCD support is available.

What Causes OCD?

The exact cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) varies, although it is fairly common, affecting millions of people throughout the world. Some researchers believe that OCD is primarily hereditary (a gene or family link), while others theorized that it is mainly biological or environmental. Still, some studies have found that OCD is the result of traumatic experiences. While other studies suggest that OCD stems from a variety of factors, such as genetics, biological factors, like hormone imbalances or serotonin deficiency, environmental factors, like toxins, substance abuse, etc., and/or trauma. Truthfully, the cause of OCD varies from person to person.

You Have OCD – What’s Next?

Well, if you have been diagnosed with OCD (through observation, self-reports, and psychological assessments), the next step is to get OCD help for it. You will need OCD support if you are going to combat this condition.

There are a variety of ways you can get a grip on your OCD symptoms, such as with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure-response and prevention (ERP) therapy, and/or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), along with issue-specific therapies, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), and transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS) (“trauma” therapies).

Medications are also sometimes used in combination with psychotherapy to help you get your OCD symptoms under control. Medications, like selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors – or SSRIs antidepressants (i.e., Luvox, Zoloft, Paxil, or Prozac) are typically prescribed when therapy alone is ineffective. When this occurs, it is called treatment-resistant OCD. Natural remedies and self-help tools are alternative ways OCD may be treated, although they are usually used in conjunction with therapy and/or medications.

These natural remedies and self-help tools may include hypnotherapy/hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, CBD, journaling, yoga, developing a strong support group, attending OCD support groups, joining OCD forums and podcasts, adopting a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals, getting proper sleep and exercise, learning healthy coping skills and mechanisms, and investing in an online OCD treatment program, like Impulse Therapy.

Did you know, our our self-help course has helped thousands of OCD sufferers better manage their symptoms?

"My OCD is finally manageable"

Jennifer S

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About OCD?


In fact, there are 30 more things you should know about OCD.

Who would have thought there was so much to learn about this anxiety condition?

Well, listed below are 30 more interesting facts about OCD:

  • OCD is not region-specific. In other words, people all around the world can, and often do, develop OCD. OCD does not discriminate.
  • Unbeknownst to many, one of the most common types of OCD is “Pure Obsessions” or “Pure-O.” Surprisingly, it is “Pure-O” that is commonly portrayed in sitcoms and movies. This is the most popular way to display OCD for entertainment because it typically involves extremely violent and sexually-inappropriate thoughts. OCD sufferers have a hard time coping with these upsetting thoughts, so they hide them from others and suffer in silence.
  • OCD can change. One of the interesting facts about OCD is that it can change course over time. More specifically, OCD symptoms can improve or worsen depending on what is happening in the person’s life, and/or his or her health.
  • Celebrities can also struggle with OCD. Celebrities, who have been linked to OCD include Cameron Diaz, Daniel Radcliffe, Charles Darwin, Megan Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio, Penelope Cruz, David Beckham, Albert Einstein, Justin Timberlake, and Harrison Ford.
  • OCD is not only powerful but also extremely lonely for most people. Because OCD symptoms can trigger shame and guilt, many people hide them from other people, especially friends, family, partners, and co-workers. As a result, these individuals tend to suffer alone and in “silence.” Struggling with this anxiety condition alone only makes it more powerful – and depressing.
  • Sometimes, there is no apparent cause of OCD. Believe it or not, it is hard to tell what is causing a person’s OCD symptoms. Although the most common causes of OCD include genetics, biological factors, environmental factors, or trauma, that may not always be the case. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.
  • OCD is not “quirkiness.” In other words, a person with OCD is not “quirky,” a “perfectionist,” or a “neat freak.” OCD is a mental health condition that involves involuntary, repetitive, and unwanted intrusive thoughts, urges, doubts, fears, mental images, negative emotions, (obsessions), and/or ritualistic behaviors (compulsions). It has nothing to do with a person’s personality. Remember, people with OCD are unable to control these thoughts and/or behaviors. And, most, if not all, wish that their symptoms would disappear.
  • It is possible to have either obsessions or compulsions. Even though many OCD sufferers experience both obsessions and compulsions, it is possible to have one or the other. Every intrusive thought, fear, urge, etc., does not have to lead to a behavior (ritual or routine), although it could.
  • OCD can lead to debt. Yes, OCD, more specifically, the non-stop obsessions and/or compulsions could cause an OCD sufferer to lose his or her job. Or, it could prevent this individual from getting a job. Without adequate money coming in, an OCD sufferer is at risk of bankruptcy, foreclosure, and/or homelessness.
  • High levels of stress or chronic stress is usually not enough to spark OCD, although it can exacerbate it. Most people can cope with stress, even extreme or chronic stress without developing OCD, which is why some researchers attribute OCD symptoms to a gene or biological factor. For instance, some studies suggest that certain people develop OCD (and others do not) not because of stress, per se, but because their brains are “wired” differently. These researchers believe that OCD influences how these individuals think and behave because they are already predisposed to it – not necessarily because of stress.
  • Although OCD is an anxiety condition, it can also cause anxiety. People with the condition tend to experience OCD cycles – of stress and anxiety – obsessions – increased stress and anxiety – and/or compulsions (to temporarily relieve the stress and anxiety caused by the obsessions). Thus, OCD can actually make your anxiety worse – unless you get OCD help for it.
  • Most OCD sufferers realize (to some degree) that their obsessions and/or compulsions are illogical and baseless, but they cannot stop them. In other words, most OCD sufferers understand that it is unlikely that their thoughts and/or behaviors are going to cause harm to themselves or others, but they are unable to stop having these intrusive thoughts and fears. For OCD sufferers, this is the most upsetting thing about having OCD.
  • No specific gene has been identified as “causing” OCD. Although some studies suggest that OCD is caused by a gene, researchers have been unable to pinpoint which one is causing the condition. Thus, if a gene is responsible for OCD, the exact one remains a mystery.
  • Blood tests and x-rays cannot be used to diagnose OCD. Although labs and x-rays can be used to diagnose a wide range of conditions, even some mental health ones, they cannot be used to diagnose OCD. The only way to diagnose OCD is through observations, self-reports, and psychological assessments.
  • It is possible to live a happy and productive life with OCD – with the right OCD help, support, and treatment. The key to success? Being self-aware and healthy coping skills and mechanisms. Being self-aware and having good coping skills can prepare you for OCD flares and help you deal with stress and anxiety (common OCD triggers) when they arise.
  • OCD is a chronic illness which means it will likely never go away. It may go into remission and flare back up from time to time. OCD will have to deal with OCD symptoms for the rest of their lives. The good news is there are numerous ways to cope with them when they occur.
  • Young adults, especially those between the ages of 19 and 20, are most at-risk of exhibiting the signs of and being diagnosed with OCD.
  • In the U.S., 1 in 40 adults, and 1 in 100 children are diagnosed with OCD.
  • OCD differs between adults and children in that children may be unaware that they have the condition. More specifically, children with OCD may not know or understand why they are having these thoughts and/or behaving in a particular way. Moreover, they may assume that their thoughts and/or behaviors are “normal” when they are not.
  • Studies suggest that OCD equally impacts males and females. However, researchers have found that only a small percentage of males and females develop the condition. Moreover, 1 in 50 people (children and adults) will develop OCD. And, approximately 2 million American adults are currently struggling with OCD symptoms.
  • Truth be told, everyone experiences upsetting, scary, and/or intrusive thoughts, fears, doubts, urges, mental images, negative emotions, etc., from time to time. This is normal and even healthy. When people without OCD experience these thoughts, urges, fears, etc., they are typically able to shrug them off fairly quickly (i.e., minutes to a day or two). 

    The obsession is only temporary and will not return once the event has passed or the issue is addressed. People with OCD, on the other hand, are unable to shrug off their thoughts, urges, doubts, fears, mental images, negative emotions, and/or behaviors. And, the obsessions and/or compulsions are not only chronic but reoccurring.

  • Surprisingly, most, if not all of us engage in rituals and routines – commonly associated with OCD compulsions. For instance, checking the door twice to make sure it is locked, cleaning the bathtub and bathroom weekly, taking daily baths or showers, washing clothes each week, or going to school or work five days a week.

    This is also normal and healthy. Doing these things does not automatically suggest that a person has OCD. However, if these rituals and routines are uncontrollable and linked to obsessions, then there is a good chance they are linked to OCD.

  • Although OCD is not a personality trait or disorder, OCD may be linked to certain characteristics, such as neurosis, impulsivity, hyper-responsibility, indecisiveness, and perfectionism.
  • According to studies, OCD may be linked to certain infections, such as streptococcal infection. More specifically, a streptococcal infection can lead to PANDAS in some children. PANDAS is a complication of this infection. Researchers suggest that PANDAS can lead to OCD in children, who are genetically predisposed to developing OCD. Thus, the consensus is that PANDAS does not cause OCD, however, it can trigger it in some children.
  • Facets of OCD were originally discovered in the 1800s by Pierre Janet, a French psychologist, however, OCD, in its present form, was developed in 1910 by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist.
  • Before the 18th century, OCD sufferers were believed to be “possessed” by evil forces. As a result, OCD treatment consisted of “banishing” evil forces (through exorcisms) from afflicted individuals (people suspected of having OCD). Even more horrifying is that some OCD sufferers were burned at the stake due to their intrusive thoughts and erratic and/or compulsive behaviors.
  • Sometimes, surgery is needed. Although rare, some OCD sufferers may need surgery to get their symptoms under control. This may the only option if all other OCD treatments (conventional and non-conventional) have been tried and failed. Experts suggest that people with severe OCD or treatment-resistant OCD may experience a 25-35% reduction in symptoms after having brain surgery.
  • Preferring that things are clean and orderly does not necessarily mean you have OCD.
  • OCD presents differently for each person, so what may be an OCD sign or symptom for one person, may not be for another. And, vice versa.
  • OCD is not a “habit.” It is a chronic condition that can take over and severely limit your ability to function at an optimal level. People with OCD are unable to “shake off” or stop their non-stop obsessions and/or compulsions.


Our self-help OCD therapy course has helped 1000s of OCD sufferers since 2018.

"My OCD is finally manageable"

Jennifer S


DR. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham has a B.A. in English, an M.M.F.T in Marriage and Family Therapy (Psychology), and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She is currently a medical, health & wellness contributor, copywriter, and psychological consultant

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