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International OCD Foundation Fact Sheet

WHAT:

The International OCD Foundation is the foremost resource about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related illnesses. It is an international organization that exists to raise awareness among policy makers and the general public about OCD, educate the mental health community about the latest treatments and research, connect people suffering from OCD with treatment providers, and advance research for more effective treatments. Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in Minnesota, San Francisco, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Boston, and Puerto Rico. The IOCDF was founded as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation in 1986 by a dozen OCD patients at Yale. Twenty-two years later, the organization has an annual $1 million annual operating budget, has granted $2.5 million for treatment research, and is a resource for tens of thousands of people.

WHY:

As many as 4 million Americans have OCD, including 1 million children and teenagers.Most are not promptly or properly diagnosed. Although OCD is rarely completely cured, many patients find meaningful and long-term symptom relief with cognitive behavior therapy and medication. OCD is a debilitating brain disorder that causes problems in information processing. The brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just can't let go. OCD involves having both obsessions and compulsions. Common obsessions are: contamination fears of germs, imagining having harmed oneself or others, imagining losing control or having aggressive urges, intrusive sexual thoughts or urges, excessive religious or moral doubt, forbidden thoughts, a need to have things "just so," and a need to tell, ask, or confess. Common compulsions are: washing, repeating, checking, touching, and counting. OCD symptoms can occur in people of all ages. Statistical analyses indicate that a major genetic component is involved in the occurrence of OCD, though the exact gene has not yet been identified.

HOW the IOCDF Helps:

  • Scientific Advisory Board - The International OCD Foundation’s SAB is comprised of the best clinicians, investigators, psychiatrists, psychologists in the US who treat or research OCD and the OC Spectrum Disorders.
  • Genetics Collaborative - Through the IOCDF Genetics Collaborative, 50 genetic investigators from around the world share findings and DNA samples with the goal of identifying the genetic causes of OCD.
  • Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) – These three-day workshops are held three times a year in different cities across the nation. They are designed to train mental health professionals in the latest techniques to treat OCD and offer continuing education credits to those who attend. Effective treatments for OCD are not typically taught during graduate and medical school training, thus mental health professionals who seek to serve this population must obtain specialized training independently.
  • Research Grants – The IOCDF seeks grant applications from OCD researchers around the globe, annually funding between $200,000 and $500,000 for multiple scientific research projects.
  • Support groups – IOCDF member affiliates track and maintain a data base of OCD support groups for sufferers of all ages, parents, spouses and family members. Over 250 support groups in the database are attended by thousands around the nation. Support groups are a lifeline for those struggling with the disorder as well as for their families.
  • Annual Conference – The IOCDF annual conference brings together the most experienced professionals with patients and their families. Three days of workshops, lectures, support groups, and book readings offer thousands access to the latest information about OCD in a supportive environment.
  • Provider List – The IOCDF maintains a national list of exceptional professional providers of treatment for OCD and related disorders. This information is available on the IOCDF website or by calling the Boston headquarters or affiliates around the nation.
  • Newsletters – Sent quarterly, IOCDF newsletters provide the latest information on research, resources and recovery and are written for medical professionals as well as for sufferers and their families.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Szymanski / 617-973-5801 / media@ocfoundation.org