Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (“obsessions”) and/or behaviors (“compulsions”) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Obsessions are unwanted and uninvited thoughts, images, feelings, and urges that trigger strong fears or great distress. Compulsions are repetitive behavioral or cognitive countermeasures that the individual employs to ignore, suppress, or prevent the distress-triggering thoughts, images and urges and/or potential consequences.

  • 1 in 40 people will suffer OCD during their lifetimeObsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • 8th leading cause of medical disability for people, ages 15 to 44
  • Equally common among men and women.
  • Median age of onset is 19, (25% by age14.)
  • Over 2/3 of adults with OCD will suffer from depression and 85% of the time the OCD symptoms appear first.
  • Studies of patients in intensive eating disorder programs suggest rates of OCD in their patients range from 24 to
    41%. (Godart et al 2006 and Kaye et al 2004).
  • 27% of OCD treatment seeking patients found to have substance use disorders
  • Individuals with childhood onset of OCD are at greatest risk of developing a problem with drugs and/or alcohol.

Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


  • 50-60% Patients achieve full response to medication alone.
  • Average full response to medication is 40-50% symptom reduction.
  • Approximately 20% of patients do not respond to medication.
  • Discontinuation leads to relapse rates of greater than 80% if medication is sole treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy:

  • 83% of OCD patients improve significantly due to CBT.
  • Brief intensive CBT reduces OCD and concurrent depressive symptoms 50-60%.
  • Post–treatment relapse rate for CBT is 20-30%
  • CBT reduces activity in parts of the brain known to be excessively active in untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.


  • EMDR could help reduce compulsions and feelings of anxiety and depression associated with OCD.
  • EMDR could reduce the intensity and frequency of obsessions.
  • EMDR can complement ERP treatment.

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