Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
by Amy Scholten, MPH
If you have OCD, your obsessive and compulsive behaviors are extreme enough to interfere with your everyday life. This is not the same as the "compulsive" behavior many people normally display, such as high standards of performance, perfectionism, and organization in work and recreational activities. Normal "compulsiveness" often serves a valuable purpose, contributing to a person's self-esteem and success on the job. OCD, on the other hand, involves obsessions and rituals that are very distressing and interfere with daily functioning.
Diagnosis of OCD is usually based on the following:
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. This may be done with a structured interview and/or questionnaire. You may also be given a psychological assessment. OCD may be diagnosed if the specified symptoms consume at least 1 hour each day and/or result in both emotional distress and disturbed functioning, but are not caused by medication, drug abuse, or a medical condition. You usually know that the behaviors are excessive or unreasonable. When you have OCD, the symptoms are disruptive enough to cause problems at school, work, and/or in family and peer relationships.
Evaluation of Other Mental and Neurologic Disorders
Other psychiatric disorders, such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, Tourette syndrome (a neurologic disorder), eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and personality disorders often occur with OCD. You may be tested for these and other psychiatric disorders.
About OCD. International OCD Foundation website. Available at: https://iocdf.org/about-ocd. Accessed January 13, 2017.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated June 13, 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Updated January 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.
Last reviewed December 2016 by Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 10/11/2019
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