Obsessive–compulsive disorder

Dan J. Stein, Daniel L.C. Costa, Christine Lochner, Euripedes C. Miguel, Y. C.Janardhan Reddy, Roseli G. Shavitt, Odile A. van den Heuvel, H. Blair Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a highly prevalent and chronic condition that is associated with substantial global disability. OCD is the key example of the ‘obsessive–compulsive and related disorders’, a group of conditions which are now classified together in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, and the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision, and which are often underdiagnosed and undertreated. In addition, OCD is an important example of a neuropsychiatric disorder in which rigorous research on phenomenology, psychobiology, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy has contributed to better recognition, assessment and outcomes. Although OCD is a relatively homogenous disorder with similar symptom dimensions globally, individualized assessment of symptoms, the degree of insight, and the extent of comorbidity is needed. Several neurobiological mechanisms underlying OCD have been identified, including specific brain circuits that underpin OCD. In addition, laboratory models have demonstrated how cellular and molecular dysfunction underpins repetitive stereotyped behaviours, and the genetic architecture of OCD is increasingly understood. Effective treatments for OCD include serotonin reuptake inhibitors and cognitive–behavioural therapy, and neurosurgery for those with intractable symptoms. Integration of global mental health and translational neuroscience approaches could further advance knowledge on OCD and improve clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalNature Reviews Disease Primers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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