Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder composed of two parts: Obsessions and Compulsions.
OCD is a chronic, genetic condition that produces significant distress when not properly diagnosed and treated. OCD can severely affect an individual mentally, emotionally and socially.
The symptoms of OCD include obsessions, which are repetitive thoughts, images, or impulses that are negative and produce distress and discomfort. In order to relieve discomforting feelings of anxiety, fear, shame, and/or disgust, an action or behavior is performed to reduce or eliminate the distress. This is called a Compulsion.
This self-rating scale is designed to assess the severity and type of OCD symptoms in patients with OCD. Before you begin the test, read the following definitions and examples of “Obsessions” and “Compulsions.”
Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses that are negative and produce distress and discomfort. Obsessional themes for individuals with OCD can come in many forms; germs, order, symmetry, fear of harming, violent thoughts and images, sexual fears, religious and morality. In all cases, these thoughts create fear in an individual with OCD because they go against their identity and caste doubt and uncertainty into their lives.
In order to relieve the discomforting feelings of anxiety, fear, shame, and/or disgust from an Obsession, an action or behavior is performed to reduce or eliminate the distress. This is called a Compulsion. Compulsions, or any act to avoid or minimize anxiety or guilt, can come in many forms as well; cleaning, washing, checking, counting, tics, or any mental act that replays or checks mentally to determine if one did or is capable of performing any of the Obsessional thoughts.
A study by the World Health Organization identified that OCD is among, the ten leading diseases, which are associated with high levels of psychosocial impairment. OCD has become the fourth most common psychiatric disorder and the 10th leading cause of disability around the world. In the United States alone there are over three million individuals suffering from OCD (International OCD Foundation, 2018). Read more about the OCD definition.
The OCD cycle is circular in nature, shifting from an intrusive thought (obsessions), triggering fear, doubt or anxiety, causing the need for a compulsive action to find relief from the fear and anxiety the obsession produces which re-triggers the original obsession. The cyclic problem is created because the reduction of discomfort and distress from performing the compulsion is only temporary until the obsession is experienced once again. In addition, relieving the anxiety only serves to reinforce and strengthen the original obsession. Therefore, the original act or behavior that initially reduced distress is repeated once again to further relieve the discomfort, and becomes ritualized into a compulsion. In turn, each compulsion reinforces the obsession, which leads to further enactment of the compulsion. As a result, the vicious cycle of OCD begins.