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JAMA Patient Page
October 27, 2004

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

JAMA. 2004;292(16):2040. doi:10.1001/jama.292.16.2040

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood, but may begin in childhood. When OCD starts in childhood, it is more common in boys than in girls. The usual time of onset is later for females than males, so the disorder is equally common among adult men and women. Without treatment, OCD usually follows a chronic course, and some persons become severely disabled by it. The October 27, 2004, issue of JAMA includes an article about treating OCD in children and adolescents.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by the presence of obsessions or compulsions or (as is often the case) both of them. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time-consuming, and interfere with the person's normal functioning.