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The lifetime prevalence is 1.6% (1).

The sex ratio across the world is equal but

  • in women       
    • mean age of onset is in the early 20s
    • have compulsive washing more than men
  • in men
    • mean age of onset is late adolescence
    • have sexual obsessions, magical numbers, or obsessional slowness  more than in women (1)

Children and adolescents can also have OCD (with a prevalence of about 0.25% in 5-15 year olds) with similar presentations to adults (1)

“Sub-clinical” cases of OCD (symptoms are not disruptive or disturbing enough to meet full criteria but impair daily life) are seen in around 5% of the population (2)


Last reviewed 01/2018