JUN 02, 2017 1:32 PM PDT

Do You Really Have OCD? Probably Not

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In popular culture, "OCD" is loosely used to label a person who is quite particular about how neat or clean something should be. But such use is far from the clinical diagnosis of OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clinically, the disorder is defined by patterns of unreasonable thoughts and obsessions that lead to compulsions, or repetitive behaviors. Furthermore, a person is only diagnosed as having OCD if the obsessions and compulsions are so severe they interfere with every life.

The disorder is quite common, affecting about 1-3 percent of the population. And typically, sufferers develop OCD around a certain theme, such as being afraid of germ contamination.

Scientists don't know exactly what causes or triggers OCD, but we know that patients respond well to medications that target the neurotransmitter serotonin. The intersection of genetics and environment may also have an important role, as OCD is more prevalent among people with an affected first-degree relative.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Should We Fly By Venus on the Way to Mars?
JUL 07, 2020
Should We Fly By Venus on the Way to Mars?
After landing on the Moon, heading to Mars became the next logical step for space exploration. Some suggest that flying ...
AUG 11, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
High THC Cannabis Linked to Anxiety
AUG 11, 2020
High THC Cannabis Linked to Anxiety
Researchers have found that people who use strains of cannabis high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive comp ...
AUG 20, 2020
Health & Medicine
New Method to Detect Microplastics in Human Tissues
AUG 20, 2020
New Method to Detect Microplastics in Human Tissues
Microplastics make headlines frequently these days, and a discovery from Arizona State University (ASU) researchers is b ...
SEP 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Rise of (Micro)Robots
SEP 11, 2020
The Rise of (Micro)Robots
As reflected by Moore's law, the semiconductor industry has observed a tremendous growth in microelectronics in the ...
SEP 18, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Toward Understanding Anesthesia
SEP 18, 2020
Toward Understanding Anesthesia
General anesthesia refers to the medical procedure anesthesiologists applies to patients, in order to induce paraly ...
SEP 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Colossal Study for the Missing (Anti)Matter
SEP 25, 2020
Colossal Study for the Missing (Anti)Matter
Physicists believe that our observable universe exists in a mirrored configuration: any fundamental particle such as pro ...
Loading Comments...