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How many people suffer from OCD in France?


The frequency of this affection has long been underestimated due to various factors such as the absence of spontaneous consultation (fear of appearing “crazy”), the secret aspect of the symptoms, the frequent comorbidity. It is estimated today that around 2 to 3% of the French population (3.6% among adolescents) suffers from OCD, or more than one million people. This figure only takes into account the number of cases diagnosed, but many still exist without having received a precise diagnosis.

At what age does OCD appear most frequently?


The age of onset is early: around 65% of cases start before the age of 25 and 15% after 35. It can occur from early childhood (50% before 18 years).

What are the causes of OCD?


For the past ten years or so, several neurobiological avenues have been opened up and are currently suitable for validation work: dysfunction of neurotransmitter systems (serotonin, dopamine, vasopressin, etc.), functional sub-localization at the level of the basal ganglia. familial and genetic factors are strongly suspected. Studies have shown a high prevalence of subsyndromic forms of OCD and anxiety disorders in parents of obsessive patients. the type of obsessive symptoms observed in parents is in the majority of cases different from that presented by their obsessive children. It would therefore not be a social transmission (simple imitation of the parents) of OCD, but a genetic factor. Stressful life events, if they can play a role, are nevertheless less triggering than in depression.

How long can this disorder last?


The spontaneous evolution, in the absence of suitable treatment, of the well-characterized forms, is, in the long term, quite severe. Even in its chronic forms, fluctuations are frequent: worsening in times of stress, and, in women, in menstrual periods, sometimes lasting remissions when the lifestyle changes.

Is OCD disabling?


The alteration can range from the mildest to the most severe. Sometimes the symptoms are debilitating, hospitalization becomes necessary and it is impossible to keep a stable job. On the other hand, many people continue to practice their profession and live despite their OCD. But the economic costs  and emotional effects of OCD for the individual, their family and society are enormous.

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