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Twitter Chat on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

On January 29, 2013, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) joined ABC News’ Richard Besser, M.D., for a Twitter chat about the latest findings on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Christopher Sarampote, Ph.D., from the Division of Developmental Translational Research at NIMH, served as the Institute’s OCD expert.

When beliefs that seem like superstitions start ruling someone’s life, they may not be so harmless. OCD is a type of anxiety disorder in which patients have reoccurring obsessive thoughts and perform ritualistic behavior to manage anxiety from these thoughts. The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

For many people, the disorder starts during childhood or the teen years. Yet most people are diagnosed by about age 19. This delay may stem from the shame people feel related to their symptoms. These rituals are typically hidden from plain sight.

Topics in the chat ranged from who gets the disorder, how the diagnosis is made, what life is like with the disorder, and which treatments are most effective.

Read the full transcript  of the chat.

Learn more about OCD.