Skip to content

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Exams and Tests

A diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is based on your symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam. Your doctor may also want a mental health assessment, which is an evaluation of your emotional functioning and your ability to think, reason, and remember (cognitive functioning). A mental health assessment may include an examination of your nervous system, written or verbal tests, and laboratory tests (such as blood and urine tests) as well as a review of your appearance, mood, behavior, thinking, reasoning, memory, and ability to express yourself.

Many people with OCD live with the condition for years before being diagnosed. Or they go without treatment because they are afraid or embarrassed to talk about their symptoms. Ask yourself these questions:

Recommended Related to Mental Health

Your Balancing Life Checklist

Feel like the day-to-day grind has taken control of your life? Get your balance back! Try these steps. Schedule a date with a bath or good book. Keep it, just like you would a business appointment. Trade services with friends. Offer to do things you enjoy or were planning to do anyway. Say "no thanks" to activities that sap energy but don't help your personal or professional life. Combine tasks. For example, fill prescriptions where you buy groceries. Set priorities,...

Read the Your Balancing Life Checklist article > >

  • Do you have repeated thoughts that cause anxiety and that you cannot get rid of no matter how hard you try?
  • Do you wash your hands frequently or keep things extremely clean and neat?
  • Do you excessively check things?

If your doctor suspects that you have OCD, he or she will look for a full range of symptoms that will confirm the diagnosis, including:

  • Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and inappropriate, cause anxiety or distress, and are not simply excessive worries about real-life issues.
  • Attempts to suppress or ignore the thoughts or get rid of them with other thoughts or actions.
  • A recognition that the obsessions are created in your own mind and don't make sense.
  • Repetitive behaviors, such as hand-washing, ordering, praying, or checking that you're driven to do in response to the obsession. The behaviors are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing a dreaded event.

For a diagnosis of OCD, the obsessions or compulsions must be time-consuming (more than 1 hour a day) or greatly interfere with your normal routine at work or school and affect social activities and relationships.

Early detection

Early detection and proper treatment is very important in improving the course of OCD. This disorder is often a long-lasting (chronic) condition that will need to be monitored throughout your life.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 05, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
     
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
     
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    Article
    Plate of half eaten cakes
    Article
     
    Phobias
    Slideshow
    mother kissing newborn
    Slideshow
     
    Woman multitasking
    Article
    thumbnail_tired_woman_yawning
    Article
     
    colored pencils
    VIDEO
    Woman relaxing with a dog
    Feature
     

    WebMD Special Sections