Is OCD A Disability & Can You Die From It?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder refers to a type of anxiety disorder, in which people experience unwanted and recurring thoughts, sensations or ideas i.e. obsessions. These obsessions force them to feel driven towards performing something in a repetitive way i.e. compulsions. Here, the repetitive behaviors include checking on different things, washing hands frequently and cleaning frequently. Each of these behaviors interferes with the daily activities performed by a person and social interactions.

Most of the people experience repeated behaviors or focused thoughts. However, such thoughts and behaviors do not cause disruption in daily life and may include structures or make various tasks easy. However, OCD patients have unwanted routines as well as rigid behaviors, along with persistent thoughts. Moreover, when patients fail to perform such tasks, they experience a huge level of distress.(1)

Is OCD A Disability?

Is OCD A Disability?

Now, the main question that comes in our mind is why and when doctors consider OCD i.e. obsessive-compulsive disorder as a disability. The answer is very simple i.e. when your problem of obsessive-compulsive disorder causes disruption in your ability to perform activities, you become eligible to receive disability benefits from the SSA i.e. Social Security Administration.

Social Security Administration considers OCD as a type of anxiety disorder. If you want to get benefits for your OCD, your symptoms should essentially be excessively severe and they cannot be cured even by undergoing treatment.

Especially, you may get benefits if you experience a severe form of disturbing behavior and anxiety, which interfere with your capability or stamina to do any type of work. However, you have to justify this according to the OCD-related requirements mentioned in the list containing anxiety disorders.

To meet your requirements mentioned in the listing, you have to undergo OCD diagnosis, which characterizes a time-consuming and involuntary preoccupation with unwanted and intrusive thoughts or repetitive behaviors aiming to reduce anxiety levels. Besides, you should show that you have lost your ability to involve in any activity. Here, the limitation may be of extreme one in any the mentioned areas or marked limitation in any two among the following areas-

  1. Understanding, learning, and remembering or memorizing the set of instructions or valuable pieces of information
  2. Interaction with other people with the help of socially appropriate behaviors
  3. Concentration on and completing tasks
  4. Regulating your emotions, managing your behavior, showing care towards you and adapting to certain changes

However, in some cases, you fail to show your severe form of functional limitations according to the aforementioned requirements. The reason for this is that you stay in a protected or highly structured situation or undergo intensive therapy. In this situation, you may get benefits by simply showing that you have suffered from OCD for a minimum 2 years period managed by treatment. Also, you have to intimate that you have the minimum possible capacity to adapt yourself towards the demands, which are not a part of your life and to obtain changes in the environment.(2)

What Is The Relation Between OCD And Death Or Suicide?

According to the latest studies related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD patients remain at about 10times high risk to die because of suicide as compared to the general population. Also, active thinking to commit suicide i.e. suicide ideation is common in the mind of people affected by OCD.

Factors, which predict whether an OCD patient will commit suicide include the severity of his/her OCD symptoms, hopelessness feelings, the co-occurrence of depression, OCD personality disorder or the presence of any other personality disorder and history related to causing self-harm, like for instance cutting hands. The risk related to committing suicide increases when an OCD patient uses alcohol or drugs actively and is socially isolated or is unemployed.(3)


To conclude, we should say that OCD is categorized under social security disability if the patients lose their ability to perform any type of job. Also, because of symptoms, many OCD patients intend to commit suicide.


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