For proper diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), let’s first understand what it is.
Definition of Obsessions and Compulsions
Obsessions are defined by recurrent and persistent thoughts where disturbing impulses or images are conceived in an individual. These are usually very intrusive and very inappropriate, and they trigger marked anxiety and are not necessarily related or linked to problems in the realm of reality.
Compulsions are defined by repetitive activities that are triggered by the distress or mental acts where a person gets the impulse to perform as a possible response to the obsession.
Behavior triggered to reduce the distress is usually quite excessive and always has a disconnect with the intent and purpose of the behavior. They then become unreasonable in the end. Unless the individual is a minor, they must fully recognize how irrational their actions are.
Together, they cause a marked distress and usually cost the individual a lot of time since they may take hours or even more than a day to fulfill. This interferes with the individual’s time schedule significantly, eating up into the daily routine negatively such as work, relationships or academic functions and activities. The individual can fail to recognize the mundane nature of their obsessions and compulsions.
For one to be diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, one has to have either the compulsions or the obsession or both. The individual tries to ignore, suppress or neutralize them with substitute thoughts and actions. They must be willing to understand that there has been no external coercion or thought influence; rather they are products of their mental faculties.
Another criterion for this is the presence of marked distress or interference of day to day functioning. The interference is however not caused by substance abuse like alcohol or hallucinogens, signs and forms of mental illnesses or a general medical condition like syphilis. The extent is measured by how much it eats up into the individual’s routine, in the excess of more than an hour a day.
There are a few red flags that are watched out with individuals having this disorder.
Contamination disorders are evidenced by distress caused by germs, disease and related issues. They have various impulse complications where phobia stimulates excessive action.
Aggressive obsession may include the harm to the individual or others near.
Sexual obsessions include masturbation or sexual habits.
Obsessive hoarding is signified by having things of no relevant value.
Magical thinking includes beliefs holding great significance.
Health or body obsessions are characterized with appearance needs and fear of illnesses.