If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (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 one 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.
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.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/symptoms. Updated August 2015. Accessed June 15, 2016.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114503/Obsessive-compulsive-disorder-OCD. Updated June 13, 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Updated January 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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