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Epidemiology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A World View

Yehuda Sasson, M.D., Joseph Zohar, M.D., Miriam Chopra, Michal Lustig, M.D., Iulian Iancu, M.D., and Talma Hendler, M.D.

Published: February 1, 1997

Article Abstract

The worldwide prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is approximately 2% of thegeneral population. Symptoms of OCD include fear of contamination by dirt or germs; constantchecking; repetitive, intrusive thoughts of a somatic, aggressive, or sexual nature; extreme slowness;and an inordinate concern with orderliness and symmetry. Differential diagnosis is sometimes complicatedby the overlap between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). The mostcommon complication of OCD is depression. However, while both serotonergic and nonserotonergicantidepressants are effective in treating patients with depression, only serotonergic medications areeffective in treating OCD patients. Because OCD patients often attempt to conceal their symptoms, itis incumbent on clinicians to screen for OCD in every mental status examination, since appropriatetreatment can often result in improved quality of life.

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Volume: 58

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