Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is not an uncommon disorder. It is a mental health disorder in which the affected person experiences repeated obsessions and/or compulsions that interfere with his or her ability to function socially, occupationally, or educationally. A person of any age can get affected with OCD but most people develop symptoms by age 30. In many cases the disorder is not recognised and it may go undiagnosed for years causing significant distress and impairment in functioning.
How long does OCD last?
OCD is a life-long disorder. The affected person may experience waxing and waning of symptoms. Most people do not experience a completely symptom-free period. Many people with OCD may suffer for many years before a correct diagnosis and treatment either because of fear of stigma of mental illness or lack of recognition.
Treatment may not cure OCD but it is definitely helpful to control symptoms in most patients so that they don't interfere with their daily functioning. It has been observed that most people improve with treatment. If the person is not treated then symptoms may worsen and become more difficult to control. Long gap between start of symptoms and initiation of treatment increase the severity of symptoms and make them more difficult to control.
According to experts treatment leads to significant improvement in symptoms in about 70 per cent of people with OCD. However they may experience waxing and waning of symptoms throughout their life. The symptoms may worsen gradually in about 15 per cen,t even with treatment. Occasional patients may experience (about 5 per cent) complete remission of symptoms between episodes of exacerbation. Rarely some patients have may have disabling, treatment-resistant symptoms. They may require combination of treatment and may be neurosurgical intervention.
As OCD is a long-lasting condition (may be life-long disorder) and treatment may be necessary for life. However in most patients the prognosis is good. Even though you may continue to have exacerbations of symptoms most people are able to lead a productive life.
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