Course and outcome of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Indian J Psychiatry. 2019 Jan;61(Suppl 1):S43-S50. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_521_18.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is generally believed to follow a chronic waxing and waning course. The onset of illness has a bimodal peak - in early adolescence and in early adulthood. Consultation and initiation of treatment are often delayed for several years. Studies over the past 2-3 decades have found that the long-term outcomes in OCD are not necessarily bleak and that at least half the treatment-seeking patients with OCD show symptomatic remission over long term. A short duration illness, of low severity that is treated early and intensively, with continued maintenance treatment over long term possibly has a good outcome. Recent studies have also identified neuroimaging and neuropsychological correlates of good outcome, but these need further replication. This paper presents an overview of conceptual issues and studies on long-term outcome of OCD and predictors of outcome.

Keywords: Course; obsessive–compulsive disorder; outcome; prognostic factors.

Publication types

  • Review