OCD Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, genetic condition that produces significant distress when not properly diagnosed and treated. OCD can severely affect an individual mentally, emotionally and socially. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, better known as OCD, is an anxiety disorder composed of two parts: obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions 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 (Compulsion).
2. What is the OCD test?
The OCD Test utilizes the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Test/Scale. Also known as the Y-BOCS. The Y-BOCS is widely known throughout the OCD community as the gold standard test to help in the diagnosis of OCD. Please note, to get a real medical diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, you should contact a local OCD specialist, mental health therapist, counselor, or medical professional (Doctor).
3. Will the OCD Test provide me with a formal OCD diagnosis?
No. The OCD Test is not a formal, medical, professional diagnosis. In order to receive this, we highly recommend finding and seeing a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or another medical professional that can provide a formal psychological/medical diagnosis.
4. What are common OCD Obsessions (Sub-Types / Themes of OCD)?
There are many different subtypes of OCD. These include, the following:
- Checking OCD
- Contamination OCD
- Harm OCD
- Health Concerns OCD
- Homosexual OCD
- Intrusive Thoughts OCD
- Just Right OCD
- Magical Thinking OCD
- Olfactory Reference Syndrome
- Pedophilia OCD
- Perfection OCD
- Postpartum OCD
- Pure “O” OCD
- Relationship OCD
- Scrupulosity OCD
- Superstitious OCD
- Sexual OCD
- Somatic OCD
- Symmetry OCD
5. What are common OCD Compulsions?
There are many forms of compulsive behaviors. Some are external and some are internal. Here are some common OCD compulsions:
- Avoiding people
- Avoiding places
- Avoiding experiences
- Avoiding thoughts
- Checking & re-checking
- Repeating certain words, numbers or phrases
- Seeking reassurance from others
- Re-reading / re-writing
- Rearranging objects and items
- Washing hands
- Taking prolonged showers
- Pushing thoughts away
- Replaying past events
- Ruminating on past events, thoughts, experiences, etc.
- Figuring out if an obsession is real, true, or why it keeps occurring in one’s life
- Needing to know right now
- Internet research
6. What causes OCD?
Research has demonstrated that family genes appear to be partially responsible for the onset of OCD but what unlocks these genes is still unknown (International OCD Foundation, 2018). There is information suggesting that life stressors, trauma and even illness can unlock the OCD genetic code. What is for certain, once this genetic code is unlocked, without effective treatment, OCD becomes a chronic, lifelong condition that leads to a poor quality of life. The International OCD Foundation
7. What are common symptoms of OCD?
- Uncontrollable, unwanted intrusive thoughts
- Repetitive thoughts
- Feeling the need to perform certain tasks, actions, or behaviors
- Feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment
8. What age does OCD usually start?
Typical OCD onset starts around 10 to 12 years old with the average individual taking around 14 to 17 years to seek treatment after onset (International OCD Foundation, 2019). This means that most individuals with OCD will suffer until their twenties when their OCD has gotten severe enough that intervention is needed. The International OCD Foundation
9. Is OCD Treatable?
Yes, OCD is a treatable condition. The best form of treatment according to the International OCD Foundation is a combination of CBT (Exposure & Response Prevention) and an anti-depressant medication (SSRI) for those that wish to use OCD medication . The International OCD Foundation.
10. What treatment / therapy helps OCD?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), a subtype of CBT, has remained the “gold standard” psychotherapeutic treatment for individuals living with OCD. Get treatment for OCD.
11. What is Exposure and Ritual /Response Prevent (ERP)?
ERP is the acronym for Exposure and Ritual /Response Prevention. This form of therapy is known as the ‘gold standard form of treatment for OCD.’
ERP is a form of behavioral therapy that is effective in treating anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy involves systematize confrontation with a feared stimulus, either in vivo (live) or in the imagination. It works by a) HABITUATION, in which repeated exposures reduces anxiety over time by a process of EXTINCTION; b) disconfirming fearful predictions; c) deeper processing of the feared stimulus and d) increasing feelings of SELF-EFFICACY and mastery (VandenBos, G. 2007).
The therapeutic treatment of OCD with ERP has demonstrated, “one of the greatest success stories in mental health” (Abramowitz, 2006, p. 407). This is because, “within the last 20 years, the prognosis for individuals with OCD has changed from poor to very good as a result of the development of ERP” (Abramowitz, 2006, p. 407).
Abramowitz, J. S. (2006). The psychological treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry, 51(7), 407-416.
VandenBos, G. (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.