Dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is best known as the disorder in which a person washes his or her hands 50 times per day. This can be true of the disorder; however, there are other signs and symptoms that a person may be suffering from this disorder. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be displayed in a behavioral pattern (hand washing) or in a cognitive pattern (persistent thoughts). Below is the diagnostic criteria for this disorder taken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5):
- Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both:
- Obsessions: Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress
- Obsessions: The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (such as by performing a compulsion).
- Compulsions: Repetitive behaviors (hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
- Compulsions: The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive.
- The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming (take more than 1 hour per day) or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- The obsessive compulsive symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or medical condition.
- The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder.
The DSM-5 lists several diagnoses in the Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders section of the book. These include the following:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Hoarding Disorder
- Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder)
- Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder
- Substance/Medication-Induced Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition
As mentioned earlier, the disturbances that are often experienced by those who think they may be dealing with OCD can sometimes actually be better described using a different diagnosis such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, an eating disorder, an addictive disorder, conduct disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, or an autism spectrum disorder. It will often take the expertise of a trained professional to help determine which, if any, diagnosis best describes what an individual is experiencing. After a diagnosis has been given then can a proper treatment plan be created to best help the individual manage and maintain his or her disorder.