Do you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

This Obsessive Compulsive Disorder page contains an abridged version of the DSM-IV Criteria.
(The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) is a guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders in the United States.)

Please note:

This page has been included for information purposes only - as a guideline to diagnosis- and although these criteria are displayed to provide a guideline to diagnosis they cannot substitute a visit to a doctor or mental health practitioner.

One more thing:

A "diagnosis" is merely a label .
It does not define you as a person.
Be very aware of the power of Labelling- see my pages on the need for certainty and The power of words - subscribe to my RSS feed (see top left of page) and get it as soon as it's published!


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterised by

Either obsessions or compulsions:

a) Obsessions are defined by:

i) recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress
ii) the thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems
iii) the person suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action
iv) the person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind (not imposed from without as in thought insertion)

b) Compulsions as defined by:

ii) repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly
ii)the behaviors or mental acts of an obsessive compulsive disorder sufferer are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive

At some point during the course of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. Note: This does not apply to children.

The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming (take more than 1 hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or usual social activities or relationships.

If another Axis I disorder is present, the content of the obsessions or compulsions is not restricted to it (e.g, preoccupation with food in the presence of an Eating Disorder; hair pulling in the presence of Trichotillomania; concern with appearance in the presence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; preoccupation with drugs in the presence of a Substance Use Disorder; preoccupation with having a serious illness in the presence of Hypochondriasis; preoccupation with sexual urges or fantasies in the presence of a Paraphilia; or guilty ruminations in the presence of Major Depressive Disorder).

With Obsessive compulsive Disorder,The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.


The obsessions or compulsions must cause marked distress, be time consuming (take more than 1 hour per day), or significantly interfere with the individuals normal routine, occupational functioning, or usual social activities or relationships with others.

Obsessions or compulsions can displace useful and satisfying behavior and can be highly disruptive to overall functioning.

Because obsessive intrusions can be distracting, they frequently result in inefficient performance of cognitive tasks that require concentration, such as reading or computation.

In addition, many individuals avoid objects or situations that provoke obsessions or compulsions. Such avoidance can become extensive and can severely restrict general functioning.
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