We have gathered statistics in a variety of areas that we thought be helpful to you as you navigate through your learning about anxiety and OCD disorders.

A March 1998 study that was published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that boys are more likely to develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) prior to puberty than girls.

Obsessive compulsive disorder statistics from the World Global Health Organization who indicate that OCD is ranked 10th among all diseases as a cause for disability, and this includes physical disease. This shows the debilitating affect that OCD can have. To help give perspective, Osteoarthritis is ranked 8th (Saxena 2009).


  • Conservative estimates indicate that 1 in 200 young people at any given time are suffering from OCD (POTS 2004).
  • 1/3 to 1/2 of adults develop OCD in childhood (POTS 2004). Unfortunately, the majority of children do not get the correct diagnosis of treatment (POTS 2004).
  • Boys are more likely than girls to have a family member with OCD or Tourettes Syndrome (March 1998).
  • Boys are more likely than girls to have tic symptoms (March 1998). Girls are more likely than boys to have an adolescent onset and to have tic like symptoms (March 1998).
  • It is widely agreed upon that children with OCD benefit most from therapy or a combination of therapy and medication, but not medication alone.


  • During the past 40 years, family and twin studies have revealed that OCD has a strong genetic component. Researchers have linked the disorder to a region of chromosome 9 (Treichel 2006).
  • Children are five times more likely to have OCD if they are first degree relatives of someone with OCD (Menzies 2008).
  • Scientists’ are currently making progress discovering which gene is currently linked to OCD. As noted above, Chromosome 9 has received the most attention.


  • Some estimates indicate that 30% of patients who have bipolar disorder also have OCD (Kaplan 2004).
  • Comorbid conditions in childhood include ADHD, other Anxiety Disorders and Major Depressive Disorder (Piacinitni 2009).
  • It is estimated that 75% of patients with OCD have a secondary or comorbid diagnosis (Kaplan 2004.) If you have OCD you are likely to be struggling with something else.
  • 25% of patients with Schizophrenia are also diagnosed with OCD and up to 60% of Schizophrenic patients have OCD symptoms (Kruger 2000).


  • 40-60% of patients respond to a given trial of SSRIs (Saxena 2009). These patients show a 40-50% reduction in symptoms (Saxena 2009).
  • OCD clients may need double the dose of an antidepressant as compared to someone who is depressed.


  • In children, 60 -100% show significant improvement and reduction in symptoms with therapy.
  • OCD was once thought to be the most serious and severe of diseases and unresponsive to treatment (Kobak 2004).
  • ERP has been documented to be effective in treatment for OCD for over two decades (Kobak 2004).

Seeking Treatment

  • In the United States, approximately half of the diagnosed OCD cases are considered severe.
  • It is estimated that less than 10 % of those suffering from obsessions or compulsions will seek any kind of effective treatment.
  • Delaying treatment in the hope symptoms will alleviate is an ineffective strategy to overcome OCD.
  • The average person with OCD will go 6 to 9 years before seeking any form of treatment. Many become obsessive in their research about OCD, to the point of prolonging help or treatment indefinitely.
  • Other reasons for delayed treatment are due to the perceived embarrassment or shame regarding what others may think about their OCD. Some have negative connotations about getting professional help.
  • While medications can impact the symptoms; most people will require other forms of intervention or therapy. Typical OCD treatments involve pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately the relapse rate of only using pharmaceuticals can be as high as 90%, which is why other therapies are required.
  • There is no cure for OCD since it is a disorder, not a disease or illness. Diseases are cured. Disorders require treatment which change, reorganization or restructure aspects of how the person processes thoughts and emotions. This allows them to begin operating more effectively, which diminishes or even stops the obsessive tendencies.
  • People with OCD are often diagnosed and misdiagnosed with other conditions, such as social anxiety, phobias, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, tourettes, Bi-polar, trichotillomania, generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, ADD, Asperger syndrome, etc.
  • Social and economic costs for OCD were estimated at $8.4 billion in 1990 OCD need not be a consistent condition and can change over time. There may be periods the symptoms minimize or disappear before they return. Others will notice a steady increase of intensity or frequency as time passes.
  • In England, the mean length of stay for hospitalization for OCD in 2002-03 was 50 days.
  • OCD can impact the quality of life in many ways, including the pursuit of education, employment status, financial independence, ability to socialize, and self esteem.
  • OCD affects everyone differently, even when certain symptoms are more common.
  • Up to 60% of Sufferers of OCD will have no overt compulsions. This is often referred to as “pure-O”.
  • The possibility of actually following through on an intrusive thought is extremely unlikely. This concern is one those with OCD can put aside.
  • Those with compulsions perform tasks to temporarily relieve stress from mounting anxiety and urges.
  • Those suffering from anxiety disorders tend to have a higher risk of substance abuse and addiction. It’s their way of coping with the general stresses of intrusive thoughts.
  • OCD symptoms worsen with stress and fatigue.
  • There is no definite scientific evidence as to the cause of OCD. It used to be attributed to heredity, others viewed it as a chemical imbalance and there are those who believe a big part of obsessive tendencies revolve around an inability to effectively cope with numerous types of stress as the real underlining issue.

Random Facts

  • Statistics indicate that 1-3 percent of the population suffer from OCD.
  • One study shows that 20% of patients referred to a dermatology clinic had an obsessive-compulsive disorder and a resulting dermatological condition (Lamburg 2007).
  • Sexual obsessions are common in people with OCD (Grant 2006).
  • Four of five people with OCD initially present to a physician other than a psychiatrist with other health conditions (Lamburg 2007).
  • There is debate in the field as to whether OCD is an anxiety disorder. Recent studies suggest that OCD patients have increased basal ganglia volume in their brain while people suffering from other anxiety disorders have decreased basal ganglia volume (Joaquim 2010).
  • An implant in the brains of people with OCD called deep brain stimulation device (DBS) stimulates laughter. OCD Patients with the DBS who had more laughter in this sample showed a decrease in symptoms of OCD (Haq 2010).
  • OCD patients are more likely to have musical hallucinations (Hermesh 2004).


  • Arehart-Treichel,J Scientists Home In On Gene Linked to OCD.Psychiatric News, Aug 2006; 41: 26 – 32
  • Haq IU, Foote KD, Goodman WG, Wu SS, Sudhyadhom A, Ricciuti N, Siddiqui MS, Bowers D, Jacobson CE, Ward H, Okun MS. Smile and laughter induction and intraoperative predictors of response to deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuroimage. 2010 Mar 10. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Hermesh H, Konas S, Shiloh R, Dar R, Marom S, Weizman A, Gross-Isseroff R. Musical hallucinations: prevalence in psychotic and nonpsychotic outpatients. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 Feb;65(2):191-7.
  • Joaquim Radua; Odile A. van den Heuvel; Simon Surguladze; David Mataix-Cols.Meta-analytical Comparison of Voxel-Based Morphometry Studies in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder vs Other Anxiety Disorders.
  • Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(7):701-711. Kaplan, A. and Hollander, E. A Review of Pharmacologic Treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. F O C U S Summer 2004, Vol. II, No. 3 461 Focus, Jul 2004; 2: 454 – 461.
  • Kobak, Kenneth A., Greist, John H., Jefferson, James W., Katzelnick, David J., Henk, Henry J. Behavioral Versus Pharmacological Treatments of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Meta-Analysis.Focus 2004 2: 462-474.
  • Kruger, Stephanie, Braunig, Peter, Hoffler, Jurgen, Shugar, Gerald, Borner, Ingrid, Langkrar, Julia. Prevalence of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Schizophrenia and Significance of Motor Symptoms. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 2000 12: 16-24
  • Lamberg,L. OCD Patients May Seek Help From Dermatologists Psychiatric News, Mar 2007; 42: 18 – 27.
  • Grant JE, Pinto A, Gunnip M, Mancebo MC, Eisen JL, Rasmussen SA. 2. Sexual obsessions and clinical correlates in adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder.Compr Psychiatry. 2006 Sep-Oct;47(5):325-9. Epub 2006 Apr 21.
  • March, John (1998). OCD in Children and Adolescents: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Manual. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Menzies, Lara, Williams, Guy B., Chamberlain, Samuel R., Ooi, Cinly, Fineberg, Naomi, Suckling, John, Sahakian, Barbara J., Robbins, Trevor W., Bullmore, Ed T. White Matter Abnormalities in Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Their First-Degree Relatives Am J Psychiatry. 2008 Oct;165(10):1308-15. Epub 2008 Jun 2.
  • Piacentini, P. A. (2009, October 10). Treating children and adolescents with OCD. Power Point Lecture. BTTI TRAINING . San Diego, Ca.
  • Saxena. (2009, October 10). Psychopharmacology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Powerpoint Lecture. BTII Conference . San Diego, Ca.
  • The Pediatricc OCD Treatment Study (POTS) Team. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Sertraline, and Their Combination for Children and Adolescents With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Pediatric OCD Treatment Study (POTS) Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA. 2004;292(16):1969-1976.
  • GENERAL OCD SYMPTOMS: OCD facts and statistic were derived from US and British sources. Wang PS, Lane M, Olfson M, Pincus HA, Wells KB, Kessler RC. Twelve month use of mental health services in the United States. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):629-640.