OCD Wiki: How To Find Accurate Information About OCD And The History Of The Condition

Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT

Published 06/21/2022

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a mental health condition or disorder characterized by obsessions, compulsions, and other symptoms, such as ritualistic behavior, anxiety or fear, hypervigilance, and rumination. The disorder impacts one out of every forty individuals who are 18 or older in the United States (about 2.3% of the United States adult population) and one out of every one hundred children under 18 in the United States. People can develop OCD at any point in their lives, and while there are risk factors for the disorder, there's no known singular cause. It's a common disorder, but a number of misconceptions about obsessive-compulsive disorder remain. What are some trusted sources for learning real information about OCD? Keep reading to learn about trustworthy resources for learning about obsessive-compulsive disorder and information about the history of OCD and the different ways that OCD can manifest.

Trusted Resources For Information About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Many people use Wikipedia or perform a Google search to learn about topics such as mental health disorders. While this can indeed help you learn about topics like mental illness or mental health disorders, it's vital to remember that nearly anyone can release information, opinions, or thoughts online and that what you come across on the internet won't always be accurate. When it comes to gaining knowledge of mental illness and mental health, it is too important to leave room for error. Here are some trusted resources for learning about mental health conditions, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)

The International OCD Foundation or IOCDF is a non-profit organization established and built by people who live with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The IOCDF is dedicated to helping people with obsessive-compulsive disorder and related disorders by raising awareness about obsessive-compulsive disorder and related disorders, connecting people with resources and increasing access to care, and more. The IOCDF was founded in 1986. Their website is one of the most comprehensive free online resources for learning about OCD and finding support, whether that's peer support through their Health Unlocked forum or through a support group mental health professional found through their resource directory. Visit the International OCD Foundation website to learn more about the IOCDF.

The American Psychological Association (APA)

The American Psychological Association or APA is a United States-based scientific and professional organization. On the about page of the American Psychological Association website under "Our Work," the APA's mission is explained in their own words with the statement, "Our mission is to promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives." The American Psychological Association or APA website has information regarding a number of mental health topics, including OCD. They also have a dictionary website that can be used to search for and find the definition of a number of terms related to mental health and psychiatry.

The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI)

The National Alliance On Mental Illness is a grassroots organization based in the United States that started in 1979. NAMI has grown to be one of the largest mental health organizations in the United States. The organization provides free information about mental health disorders on its website and engages in abundant advocacy work and connecting people with support options nationwide. Visit the NAMI website to learn more about the National Alliance On Mental Illness, or learn more about OCD using their website here.

OCD Definition

The American Psychological Association or APA dictionary describes OCD as "a disorder characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that prompt the performance of neutralizing rituals (compulsions). Typical obsessions involve themes of contamination, dirt, or illness (fearing that one will contract or transmit a disease) and doubts about the performance of certain actions (e.g., an excessive preoccupation that one has neglected to turn off a home appliance). Common compulsive behaviors include repetitive cleaning or washing, checking, ordering, repeating, and hoarding. The obsessions and compulsions—which are recognized by affected individuals (though not necessarily by children) as excessive or unreasonable—are time-consuming (more than 1 hour per day), cause significant distress, and interfere with functioning." Click here to read the full definition of OCD on the APA dictionary website.

About OCD

One of the most important things to know about OCD is that there are various ways that obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD can manifest. Obsessive-compulsive disorder may take the form of contamination OCD, symmetry OCD, purely obsessive OCD (OCD without visible compulsions), harm OCD, or another subtype of OCD. You can read more about the different types of obsessive-compulsive disorder here. A common stereotype related to OCD is that everyone with OCD has contamination OCD and engages in compulsions such as excessive washing. This stereotype is false, as only about 25% of sufferers are said to have contamination OCD. Part of why reliable information about mental health disorders is so essential is that it defeats stereotypes like these, allowing more people to receive a diagnosis and increasing the understanding of mental health disorders among the general population.

What Is OCD behavior?

If someone talks about behavior that occurs in those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, they're likely referring to compulsions and other signs or symptoms of OCD. When talking about obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessions relate to the fixation and intrusive, recurring thoughts experienced by a person with OCD. Compulsions, on the other hand, refer to the behaviors used by individuals with OCD that present to cope with or relieve the anxiety that comes with the obsessions or intrusive thoughts one experiences. Examples of compulsions seen in those with OCD might be checking to make sure that the doors are locked, checking to make sure that appliances are off, washing one's hands excessively to avoid contamination, arranging objects, or mental compulsions, like counting or repeating phrases in one's head. These behaviors aren't quirks; obsessions and compulsions can take over a person's life. The good news is that treatment is available.

Symptoms Of OCD

Various symptoms may be seen in those with OCD in addition to obsessions and compulsions. Potential symptoms affiliated with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD in addition to obsessions and compulsions may include:

  • Ritualistic behavior
  • Anxiety, fear, or distress
  • Repeating words, phrases, or movements
  • Social isolation or withdrawal from others
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of depression
  • Rumination
  • Hypervigilance

If the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder impact your life, know that you can reach out for support. OCD is a common condition, and you are not alone. To find a provider who works with obsessive-compulsive disorder, you can search the web for "OCD therapists near me" or "OCD treatment near me." You can also contact your insurance company or visit their website to see who they cover in your area. Your general doctor might also be able to provide you with the name of a trusted peer. You can also use the provider locator tool in the upper right-hand corner of the Mind Diagnostics website. To use the tool, simply type in your zip code and press the magnifying glass. If you're interested in remote therapy services, consider using an online therapy website like BetterHelp, or look for someone in your area who offers remote therapy sessions. Make sure to contact a medical or mental health professional for any information regarding specific treatments or therapies.

The History Of OCD

Obsessions and compulsions first appeared in psychiatric literature in the year 1838. However, it took some time for our current understanding of obsessive-compulsive disorder to develop, and research regarding obsessive-compulsive disorder continues to emerge. One of the most recent developments regarding obsessive-compulsive disorder and its diagnosis is the change in the disorder's categorization when the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) was released. Before releasing the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM, obsessive-compulsive disorder was considered an anxiety disorder, like post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Now, obsessive-compulsive disorder exists in a category called "obsessive-compulsive and related disorders," which encompasses the criteria for the obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as related disorders, including body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), trichotillomania, also referred to as "hair-pulling disorder." Dermatillomania is also referred to as "excoriation disorder" or "skin picking disorder."

Take The Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Test

Are you wondering if you might have obsessive-compulsive disorder or symptoms of OCD? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test. The Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test is not a replacement for a diagnosis from a medical or mental health professional, but taking the test can give you insight into your symptoms. It might just be the first step to getting the help that you need. The Mind Diagnostics OCD test is free, fast, and confidential. After taking the test, all you have to do is type in your email address, and your results will be sent to you right away. Although the obsessive-compulsive disorder can impact people of all ages, note that the Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test is for those aged 18 and older.

Click here to take the Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test.