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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (cont.)

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What happens if OCD is not treated? What are complications of obsessive compulsive disorder?

Without treatment, the severity of OCD can worsen to the point that the sufferer's life becomes consumed. Specifically, it can inhibit their ability to attend school, keep a job, and/or can lead to social isolation. Many people with this condition consider killing themselves, and about 1% die by suicide.

Regarding the prognosis for the specific symptoms, it is rare for any to progress to a physically debilitating level. However, problems like compulsive hand washing can eventually cause complications like the skin becoming dry and even breaking down, and trichotillomania can result in unsightly scabs on the person's scalp.

What is the prognosis for obsessive compulsive disorder?

While in about 40% of people diagnosed with OCD the symptoms tend to persist indefinitely to some degree, most are only mildly to moderately affected by those symptoms if adequately treated. People who have the symptoms of this condition longer prior to being diagnosed and treated are both at higher risk of having more severe OCD and of developing other mental health illnesses (co-morbidity) in the future.

Is it possible to prevent obsessive compulsive disorder?

OCD is best prevented through early recognition and treatment. Specifically, recognizing warning signs that a child may be at risk for developing this illness can be a place to start. Examples of such early warning signs include excessive complaints by or agitation of (hypersensitivity) the child that certain clothes or food textures are intolerable, specific food aversion, as well as the child engaging in rigid patterns of behavior.

Where can people get more information about obsessive compulsive disorder?

Further information about OCD can be gained from the following resources.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

American Psychiatric Association

National Institute of Mental Health

International OCD Foundation
PO Box 961029
Boston, Mass. 02196

Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous World Services (OCA)

OCD Recovery Centers of America

OCD Online

Tourette Syndrome Association

Trichotillomania Learning Center


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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/11/2016


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