What are the most common obsessions in OCD? And how many people actually have them?
These are two of the questions that I am trying to answer today. As I have always loved statistics, I decided to look at some research data about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and in today’s post, I will share a couple of interesting things that I have found.
Most of OCD-related research was conducted with a relatively small sample size, so I can not guarantee that all of the numbers that I got from different sources are a 100% accurate – but they looked pretty realistic to me – I mean, obviously because otherwise, I would not be sharing them with you!
1 in 40
1 in 40 adults in the U.S. have OCD.(source)
What about other countries? Now that is a good question! I have not been able to find statistics from other countries, however, I was going through a few websites from France, Romania and Hungary and most of them estimated the prevalence of OCD at about 2-3% – which is very similar to the U.S. numbers.
The percentage of OCD sufferers who get diagnosed with OCD before the age 25.
The average age at diagnosis. (source)
And looking at this, I can see that I am pretty “average”. My OCD got out of control when I was a senior in high school and I got my diagnosis at the age of 19.
Want to read more about how OCD is diagnosed?
Most Common Obsessions
I guess the fear of contamination is the most well-known OCD obsession – and according to the statistics, it is also the most common one. However, as we can see it is not the only obsession that people with OCD have – and it is not even significantly more common than other obsessions such as aggressive or terrifying thoughts (for example, fear of harming loved ones) or body-focused obsessions (such as the fear of choking).
10% of people with OCD constantly question their sexuality.
Most Common Compulsions
Want to read more about obsessions and compulsions? Check:
- OCD – afraid of blinding yourself
- 6 types of OCD
- What is it like to live with OCD? – A day in my life
- In the prison of your own mind: Responsibility OCD
Living with OCD: What impact does it have on your life?
So, what impact can OCD have on your life? It really varies from person to person. And obviously, it changes over time: OCD used to make my life a living hell, but then it’s gotten a lot better so I can say that in my case it went from “significant impairment” to “mild impairment”.
- 50.6% of adults experience significant impairment.
- 34.8% experience moderate impairment.
- And 14.6% experience mild impairment.
13.7% – the lifetime prevalence of ADHD in adult OCD patients.
What is ADHD?
It stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Myself, I do not have ADHD myself, however, you can find a lot of interesting articles about it on Maja’s blog: Lampelina. For example this one: Me and my ADHD
30% of adults with OCD have a lifetime history of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). (source)
What is GAD?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by exaggerated anxiety about simple, everyday life things – with no apparent reasons for worry. I am a very “lucky” person because I have both OCD and GAD – sounds amazing, does it not?
How to tell the difference between OCD and GAD?
About 30% of people with OCD have had a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. This is nearly double the rate of the general population. (source)
And yeah, me too I have been there. I started to drink at a very young age and had alcohol problems during my teens. And by saying alcohol problems, I do not mean that “I sometimes got drunk” but I mean actual alcohol-abuse.
Depression is 10 times more prevalent in OCD patients than in general population. (source)
Want to read more about depression? Check out Kacha’s blog to read more about depression, burnout and a lot more: Food.For.Thoughts
As you know, there’s one thing that I love more than writing about my thoughts and experiences: reading about yours! So please feel free to share any thoughts, opinions or questions in the comment section