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What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Have you ever known somebody who washes their hands excessively are constantly checking to see if the doors are locked This may be the cause of low serotonin levels in the brain Serotonin is responsible in helping nerve cells communicate More plainly they may be symptoms of the all-unbearable anxiety disorder known as obsessive-compulsive disorder Although about 55 million people in the US are affected by OCD not all of them are aware or just are too embarrassed by their peculiar behaviors to get help In approximately 80 of all cases of OCD persons performing these rituals are painfully aware that their behavior is unreasonable and irrational nd Phillipson Worries doubts superstitious beliefs all are the common in everyday life However when they become so excessive such as hours of hand washing or make no sense at all such as driving around and around the block to check that an accident didnt occur then a diagnosis of OCD is made In OCD it is as though the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just wont let go People with OCD often say the symptoms feel like a case of mental hiccups that wont go away OCD is a medical brain disorder that causes problems in information processing OCF 1998 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder symptoms can occur in people of all ages from preschool age to adulthood usually by age 40 About one third to one half of adults diagnosed with OCD say that it started during their childhood and it went unnoticed until adulthood Approximately one million children and adolescents in the United States suffer from OCD which means three to five youngsters per average sized elementary school and about twenty teenagers in a large high school NAMI 2001 On average people with OCD see about three to four doctors and spend over nine years seeking treatment before they receive the right diagnosis Studies have also
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