How common is OCD?
Trying to figure out how many people out there have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a daunting task. Many studies have been conducted and few come up with the same number.
Generally speaking, studies show that between one and three percent of the population will have OCD at some point in their lives. On average, two per cent of any population has OCD. That works out to 1 in every 50 people.
That translates into more than 140 million worldwide, more than six million in the United States and more than 700,000 in Canada.
The reason that it is difficult to pin down a more precise number is that OCD tends to be under-reported. It can take 10 to 15 years or more from the onset of symptoms for sufferers to seek help. In addition, many sufferers feel afraid, embarrassed, even shameful about their symptoms, leading to them trying to keep their obsessions and compulsions a secret. This causes delays in receiving treatment.
If anything, the statistic of one to three per cent of the population having OCD is likely lower than it should be.