How Do I Know If I Have Obsessive-compulsive Disorder?

Reviewed Nov 10, 2017

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Summary

  • Many people display OCD-like symptoms from time to time.
  • OCD causes a great amount of concern.
  • A person will spend over an hour each day dealing with OCD.

You have a real attention to detail. You like things done a certain way. You admit to being a perfectionist. Some of your peers poke fun at you because you take so long to finish projects. Your own family teases you when you become “obsessed” with a new thought or idea. Some of your friends have playfully suggested that you have OCD. Could they be right?

The truth is many people display OCD-like symptoms from time to time. This does not necessarily mean they have OCD. Someone with OCD will have these thoughts and behaviors for over an hour each day. OCD causes great concern and can really interfere with a person’s everyday life.

As the name implies, OCD consists of obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions

Obsessions are thoughts or images that occur over and over again in one’s mind. They can be very disruptive and disturbing. The person will often realize his obsessions are foolish. At the same time, he is unable to stop them. This leaves him feeling anxious and afraid.

Some common obsessions include:

  • Feeling one’s hands are full of germs
  • Feeling something important is being left undone
  • Feeling of impending doom
  • Feeling of causing harm to one’s self or loved ones
  • Feeling items are out of place or order
  • Feeling excessive guilt regarding religion
  • Feeling repulsed by sexual urges

Compulsions

Compulsions are rituals done in response to obsessions. These acts are an attempt to control the obsessions. The person does not want to repeat the rituals, but feels compelled to do so. She feels something bad will happen if she does not do them. Performing the rituals will not make the obsessions go away but may provide temporary relief.

Some common compulsions include:

  • Repeatedly washing hands
  • Checking and rechecking things
  • Touching and arranging things
  • Repeating sequences of steps
  • Repeating words
  • Counting

Related disorders

There are a number of other mental illnesses related to OCD. Many focus on various parts of the body. Skin-picking disorder and hair-pulling disorder are among them. Others include chronic nail-biting and lip-biting. Some center on perceived flaws or defects in appearance.

Hoarding used to be considered a symptom of OCD. It is now known as a separate disorder. Tic-related disorders and eating disorders often co-occur with OCD. This is also true for ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.

Diagnosis

OCD is a popular topic in today’s culture. The term is often misused to describe anyone who may be fussy or routine-oriented. Friends sometimes refer to each other as “being OCD” whenever they become obsessed over something. A person who truly has OCD will be very distressed by it. She will spend over an hour each day dealing with it.

Sometimes OCD symptoms can be substance-induced or medication-induced. They may also be due to some other health issue. If you think you may have OCD you should be checked out by a doctor. If nothing is physically found wrong, you may be referred to a mental health specialist. If you do get diagnosed with OCD, do not fret. OCD is a long-term disease, but through proper treatment recovery is possible.

Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org
www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Images/FactSheets/OCD-FS.pdf

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder; National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml; Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/ocd; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/tourette/ocd.html; The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), www.DSM5.org
Reviewed by Paulo Correa, MD, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Many people display OCD-like symptoms from time to time.
  • OCD causes a great amount of concern.
  • A person will spend over an hour each day dealing with OCD.

You have a real attention to detail. You like things done a certain way. You admit to being a perfectionist. Some of your peers poke fun at you because you take so long to finish projects. Your own family teases you when you become “obsessed” with a new thought or idea. Some of your friends have playfully suggested that you have OCD. Could they be right?

The truth is many people display OCD-like symptoms from time to time. This does not necessarily mean they have OCD. Someone with OCD will have these thoughts and behaviors for over an hour each day. OCD causes great concern and can really interfere with a person’s everyday life.

As the name implies, OCD consists of obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions

Obsessions are thoughts or images that occur over and over again in one’s mind. They can be very disruptive and disturbing. The person will often realize his obsessions are foolish. At the same time, he is unable to stop them. This leaves him feeling anxious and afraid.

Some common obsessions include:

  • Feeling one’s hands are full of germs
  • Feeling something important is being left undone
  • Feeling of impending doom
  • Feeling of causing harm to one’s self or loved ones
  • Feeling items are out of place or order
  • Feeling excessive guilt regarding religion
  • Feeling repulsed by sexual urges

Compulsions

Compulsions are rituals done in response to obsessions. These acts are an attempt to control the obsessions. The person does not want to repeat the rituals, but feels compelled to do so. She feels something bad will happen if she does not do them. Performing the rituals will not make the obsessions go away but may provide temporary relief.

Some common compulsions include:

  • Repeatedly washing hands
  • Checking and rechecking things
  • Touching and arranging things
  • Repeating sequences of steps
  • Repeating words
  • Counting

Related disorders

There are a number of other mental illnesses related to OCD. Many focus on various parts of the body. Skin-picking disorder and hair-pulling disorder are among them. Others include chronic nail-biting and lip-biting. Some center on perceived flaws or defects in appearance.

Hoarding used to be considered a symptom of OCD. It is now known as a separate disorder. Tic-related disorders and eating disorders often co-occur with OCD. This is also true for ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.

Diagnosis

OCD is a popular topic in today’s culture. The term is often misused to describe anyone who may be fussy or routine-oriented. Friends sometimes refer to each other as “being OCD” whenever they become obsessed over something. A person who truly has OCD will be very distressed by it. She will spend over an hour each day dealing with it.

Sometimes OCD symptoms can be substance-induced or medication-induced. They may also be due to some other health issue. If you think you may have OCD you should be checked out by a doctor. If nothing is physically found wrong, you may be referred to a mental health specialist. If you do get diagnosed with OCD, do not fret. OCD is a long-term disease, but through proper treatment recovery is possible.

Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org
www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Images/FactSheets/OCD-FS.pdf

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder; National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml; Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/ocd; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/tourette/ocd.html; The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), www.DSM5.org
Reviewed by Paulo Correa, MD, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Many people display OCD-like symptoms from time to time.
  • OCD causes a great amount of concern.
  • A person will spend over an hour each day dealing with OCD.

You have a real attention to detail. You like things done a certain way. You admit to being a perfectionist. Some of your peers poke fun at you because you take so long to finish projects. Your own family teases you when you become “obsessed” with a new thought or idea. Some of your friends have playfully suggested that you have OCD. Could they be right?

The truth is many people display OCD-like symptoms from time to time. This does not necessarily mean they have OCD. Someone with OCD will have these thoughts and behaviors for over an hour each day. OCD causes great concern and can really interfere with a person’s everyday life.

As the name implies, OCD consists of obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions

Obsessions are thoughts or images that occur over and over again in one’s mind. They can be very disruptive and disturbing. The person will often realize his obsessions are foolish. At the same time, he is unable to stop them. This leaves him feeling anxious and afraid.

Some common obsessions include:

  • Feeling one’s hands are full of germs
  • Feeling something important is being left undone
  • Feeling of impending doom
  • Feeling of causing harm to one’s self or loved ones
  • Feeling items are out of place or order
  • Feeling excessive guilt regarding religion
  • Feeling repulsed by sexual urges

Compulsions

Compulsions are rituals done in response to obsessions. These acts are an attempt to control the obsessions. The person does not want to repeat the rituals, but feels compelled to do so. She feels something bad will happen if she does not do them. Performing the rituals will not make the obsessions go away but may provide temporary relief.

Some common compulsions include:

  • Repeatedly washing hands
  • Checking and rechecking things
  • Touching and arranging things
  • Repeating sequences of steps
  • Repeating words
  • Counting

Related disorders

There are a number of other mental illnesses related to OCD. Many focus on various parts of the body. Skin-picking disorder and hair-pulling disorder are among them. Others include chronic nail-biting and lip-biting. Some center on perceived flaws or defects in appearance.

Hoarding used to be considered a symptom of OCD. It is now known as a separate disorder. Tic-related disorders and eating disorders often co-occur with OCD. This is also true for ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.

Diagnosis

OCD is a popular topic in today’s culture. The term is often misused to describe anyone who may be fussy or routine-oriented. Friends sometimes refer to each other as “being OCD” whenever they become obsessed over something. A person who truly has OCD will be very distressed by it. She will spend over an hour each day dealing with it.

Sometimes OCD symptoms can be substance-induced or medication-induced. They may also be due to some other health issue. If you think you may have OCD you should be checked out by a doctor. If nothing is physically found wrong, you may be referred to a mental health specialist. If you do get diagnosed with OCD, do not fret. OCD is a long-term disease, but through proper treatment recovery is possible.

Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org
www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Images/FactSheets/OCD-FS.pdf

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder; National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml; Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/ocd; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/tourette/ocd.html; The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), www.DSM5.org
Reviewed by Paulo Correa, MD, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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