Health Concerns

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Diagnostic Criteria for OCD

Taken from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV):

A. Obsessions, as defined by the following:

  • recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or images that an individual perceives as inappropriate and intrusive and that are associated with distress or anxiety
  • such thoughts, urges or images are not just excessive worries about actual problems
  • individuals make attempts to suppress or ignore these thoughts, urges or images or to neutralize them by engaging in other behaviors or thoughts
  • individuals recognize that the persistent thoughts, urges or images are a product of their mind and are not imposed by an outside force

Compulsions, as defined by the following:

  • repetitive behaviors (eg, hand washing, showering, arranging) or mental acts (eg, counting, repeating words silently) that individuals feel driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules they feel compelled to follow rigidly
  • such behaviors or mental acts are done to prevent or reduce anxiety or to prevent the occurrence of a dreaded situation or event, even though the behaviors or mental acts are not realistically connected to the things they are designed to neutralize or prevent

B. At some point during the course of the disorder, the individual recognizes that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable (This criterion does not apply to children).

C. The obsessions or compulsions cause significant anxiety or distress, consume more than one hour per day, or significantly interfere with people’s normal lifestyle, occupational or academic functioning, or typical relationships or social activities.

D. If another disorder is present, the nature of the individual’s obsessions or compulsions is not limited to it (eg, preoccupation with food in eating disorders, hair pulling in trichotillomania, preoccupation with sexual fantasies or impulses in paraphilia, or obsessive guilt in major depressive disorder).

E. The obsessions and/or compulsions are not the direct physiological result of a substance (eg, medication, a drug of abuse) or a general medical condition.