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:
Psychiatry and psychology are overlapping professions. Practitioners in both -- psychiatrists and psychologists -- are mental health professionals. Their area of expertise is the mind -- and the way it affects behavior and well-being. They often work together to prevent, diagnose, and treat mental illness. And both are committed to helping people stay mentally well.
But there are differences between psychiatry and psychology. And people sometimes find those differences confusing, especially when...
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 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.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
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