Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, neurobiological illness. It is characterized by “repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (compulsions).” Obsessive-compulsive disorder can manifest in different ways, and symptoms will vary from person to person. If you have OCD, you are likely to experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are distressing and significantly interfere with your life. The International OCD Foundation provide the following examples of commonly reported obsessions and compulsions displayed by people with OCD:
- Obsessive symptoms:
- Religious fixations
- Aggressive thoughts
- Fear of contamination
- A need for order, symmetry and/ or precision
- Sexual thoughts
- Fear of germs and/ or dirt
- Preoccupation with bodily waste
- Intrusive sounds and/ or words
- Preoccupation with household items
- Fear of illness and/ or harm coming to oneself and/ or others
- Compulsive symptoms:
- Repeating rituals (e.g., entering and exiting doorways multiple times)
- Ordering and/ or arranging objects
- Grooming rituals (e.g., showering, brushing teeth, hand washing, hair combing, etc.)
- Counting rituals
- Checking rituals (e.g., pushing repeatedly on doors to assure they are closed)
- Touching rituals
- Cleaning rituals (e.g., household items)
- Rituals to prevent self-harm and/ or harming others
While some individuals may only experience one component of OCD (obsession or compulsions) many individuals with OCD do have both obsessions and compulsions.
While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition provide clear diagnostic criteria for mental health professionals when diagnosing obsessive-compulsive disorder, there are several at-home tests that can be done to help an individual understand whether they are suffering from OCD. There are a variety of online self-screening resources and tests that can help an individual identify if they may be struggling with OCD (e.g., 3 Minute Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Test, Do I Have OCD?, OCD Self Test, etc.). While completing these tests does not provide a professional diagnosis, they can illuminate a need for further evaluation. To obtain the most effective treatment, it is essential to be properly evaluated and accurately diagnosed by a mental health provider.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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