Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

What you need to know:

Recently, national news outlets reported that 33-year-old twin sisters with severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) committed suicide due to debilitating symptoms associated with their disease.  Their OCD was predominately focused on personal hygiene, and they performed rituals such as compulsively showering for as long as 10 hours per day.  They had undergone extensive treatments for their OCD, but continued to suffer from incapacitating symptoms.

OCD is a psychiatric illness where obsessions are characterized by recurrent, often obtrusive, anxiety-provoking thoughts such as fear of exposure to germs.  Compulsions are the repetitive action driven by the obsession, such as excessive hand-washing. OCD has a prevalence of 2-3%. Patients with OCD often have other psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or eating disorders, with as many as 2/3 developing major depression. Individuals with OCD have a wide range of symptoms, as well as a broad range of symptom severity.

ACM resources to help you learn more:

“Mental Disorders” in Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 19e

“Psychiatric Disorders” in Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 2018

“Anxiety” in Behavioral Medicine: A Guide for Clinical Practice, 4e