Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Diagnosis, Compulsion Diagnosis, Obsession Diagnosis, OCD Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Diagnosed?

Some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder require medical assistance from a primary care doctor when symptoms of the disorder are starting to affect their life. An adult whose compulsion is hand washing may consult a dermatologist because of cracks or bleeding in their fingers. Parents may seek the help of a pediatrician once their child with OCD starts to bath at least four times daily 7.

Depression is a common symptom in obsessive-compulsive disorder. In fact, most patients with OCD develop depression, rather than discussing OCD. If the doctor feels that the problem is a psychiatric condition, they may likely refer the patient to a mental health provider for proper evaluation and treatment. Diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder is determined by obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior, psychological distress, occupational, relational, and leisure effects, and possible signs of other psychiatric conditions.

If the doctor feels that an individual is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, they may administer a battery of tests that may include physical examinations, laboratory screenings, and psychological evaluation 8.

  • The physical examinations may include measurement of height and weight, checking of vital signs such as heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and stomach examination.
  • The laboratory screening includes complete blood count, alcohol and drug testing, and thyroid function checking.
  • In the psychological evaluation, the doctor asks about the thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns of the patient. Likewise, the doctor will discuss when symptoms began, their severity, impact on the life of the patient, and past episodes. Aside from that, the doctor will also check possible suicidal, self-harm, or hurting others behaviors. If necessary, the doctor may consult the family or friends of the patient.

The DSM-IV-TR has laid down the following criteria in order for a condition to be diagnosed as obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • The patient must be suffering from obsession or compulsion
  • The individual suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder should be aware that their obsession or compulsions are excessive or irrational
  • The obsession and compulsions must have a significant effect on the daily routine of the individual suffering from OCD.

Could You Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Fears, Excessive Worry, Anxiousness, Phobias, Stress
Dependent Personality Disorder- Pervasive Psychological Dependence on Others, Dependent, Anxiety, Depression, Excessive Need for Others in Order to Become Functional
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Grandiosity, Self Admiration, Lack of Empathy, Obsession for Oneself, Self-Centeredness
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder – Obsession for Perfection, Obsession for Order and Rules, Perfectionist