A diagnosis of
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is based on your
symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam. Your doctor may also
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
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
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:
When Debra Yergen switched jobs, she got the cold shoulder from people she considered close friends.
Yergen had spent three years working at a community hospital in Washington state, but when she started her new position as director of communications for a regional medical center that competed with the hospital, her old work buddies disappeared -- presumably because she left for the competition.
"At first, I thought my friends were just busy," Yergen, now 40, says. "But when the holidays rolled...
Do you have repeated thoughts that cause
anxiety and that you cannot get rid of no matter how hard you
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,
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.
suppress or ignore the thoughts or get rid of them with other thoughts or
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
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.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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