Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent symptoms. The main OCD symptoms are obsessions and compulsions. Read on to learn more about the treatment and diagnosis of OCD symptoms.
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or ideas that won't go away, are unwanted and cause extreme distress. For example, you might worry constantly about becoming contaminated with a deadly disease, that you will do something terrible, like scream out an obscenity at a funeral, or that something horrible will happen to a loved one. Other common obsessions include repeated doubts, such as believing you may hit someone with your car, a need for order, aggressive or disturbing ideas such as thoughts of murdering your partner or child, as well as disturbing sexual and religious imagery.
Compulsions are behaviors that you feel you must carry out over and over. For example, if you are obsessed with contamination, you might wash your hands over and over again. Other common compulsions include cleaning, counting, checking, requesting or demanding reassurance, and ensuring order and symmetry.
OCD Symptom Types
The way in which OCD symptoms are experienced varies widely from person to person -- there are many OCD symptom subtypes, and these can differ depending on when the OCD occurs. Finally, OCD symptoms can appear in response to very specific circumstances, such as infection or the birth of a child.More About OCD Types
Pathological or compulsive hoarding is often an OCD symptom. Hoarding is defined as acquiring -- and failing to throw out -- a large number of items that would appear to have little or no value to others. It often includes severe cluttering that gets in the way of home, work and/or social life.More About Compulsive Hoarding
Diagnosing OCD Symptoms
Although OCD symptoms are accepted as having biological roots, symptoms can't be diagnosed using a blood sample, X-ray or other medical test. A mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or family doctor or nurse with special training will usually make a diagnosis of OCD using medical judgment and experience.Diagnosis of OCD Symptoms
Treating OCD Symptoms
OCD symptoms were once thought of as difficult to treat; however, in reality, more than two-thirds of people with OCD respond well to treatment, which includes medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, surgery and self-help strategies.Treatment of OCD Symptoms
American Psychiatric Association. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text revision" 2000 Washington, DC: Author.