Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Obsessions
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.
Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Compulsions
Compulsions are behaviors that have to be done over and over again to relieve anxiety. Compulsions are often related to obsessions. For example, if you are obsessed with being contaminated, you may feel compelled to wash your hands repeatedly. Common compulsions include cleaning, counting, checking, requesting or demanding reassurance and ensuring order and symmetry. As with obsessions, people with OCD usually (but not always) have insight into the irrationality of their compulsions.
How are the Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Diagnosed?
Although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is accepted as an illness with biological roots, it 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 their medical judgment and experience.
Many healthcare professionals use a tool called a structured clinical interview to see if your symptoms are consistent with OCD. Structured clinical interviews contain standardized questions to ensure that each patient is interviewed in the same way. These questions usually ask about the nature, severity and duration of symptoms. You may also be asked about your mood or other symptoms to make sure there aren't other psychological problems that need to be addressed.