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Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a medical brain disorder that causes information processing problems.. 

OCD involves having both obsessions and compulsions and symptoms can occur in people of all ages.   

OCD can start at any time from preschool age to adulthood (usually by age 40). 

It tends to be underdiagnosed and undertreated for a number of reasons. 

Unlike a condition called post traumatic stress disorder, OCD is not caused by a terrible event. 

OCD may worsen or cause disruptive behaviors  in children and adolescents, exaggerate a pre-existing learning disorder, cause problems with attention and concentration, or interfere with learning at school. 

Although OCD can take many forms, in general, sufferers experience repetitive, intrusive and unwelcome thoughts, images, impulses and doubts which they find difficult to ignore. 

OCD affects males as frequently as it does females, and on average begins to affect people in late adolescence for men and early twenties for women. 

OCD symptoms can be severe and time-consuming. 

OCD symptoms involving obsessions may include:

  • Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched
  • Doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove
  • Repeated thoughts that you've hurt someone in a traffic accident
  • Intense distress when objects aren't orderly, lined up properly or facing the right way
  • Images of hurting your child
  • Impulses to shout obscenities in inappropriate situations
  • Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands
  • Replaying pornographic images in your mind
  • Dermatitis because of frequent hand washing
  • Skin lesions because of picking at the skin
  • Hair loss or bald spots because of hair pulling. 

Symptoms involving compulsions may include:

  • Washing hands until the skin becomes raw
  • Checking doors repeatedly to make sure they're locked
  • Checking the stove repeatedly to make sure it's off
  • Counting in certain patterns. 

Treatments can involve medicine and behavior therapy. 

Usually OCD in children is diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 12. 

OCD has a genetic component, which means that children whose family members have had any of these disorders may be more prone to OCD. 

OCD can sometimes worsen if it's not treated in a consistent, logical, and supportive manner. 

OCD is similar to a phobia, which is another anxiety disorder. 

OCD is characterized by recurrent intense obsessions and/or compulsions that cause severe discomfort and interfere with day-to-day functioning. 

OCD affects people from all different backgrounds, classes, cultures, sexes and intelligence levels. 

OCD is most likely the result of several interacting factors and is affected by stressful life events, hormonal changes, and personality traits. 

The specturm OCD occurs in ranges from mild to severe.However, if severe and left untreated, it can destroy a person's capacity to function at work, at school, or even in the home. 

OCD strikes people of all ethnic groups. 

Although OCD is usually completely curable only in some individuals, most people achieve meaningful and long-term symptom relief with comprehensive treatment. 

When a parent has OCD, there is a slightly increased risk that a child will develop OCD, although the risk is still low. 

When OCD runs in families, it is the general nature of OCD  is inherited, not specific symptoms. 

There is no proven cause of OCD.