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Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Many people may describe their behavior as "compulsive." This includes things like being very organized or a perfectionist. These habits can help people reach goals. OCD compulsions are extreme. They can cause a person to feel upset. They can also interfere with daily functioning.

Diagnosis of OCD is usually based on the following:

Initial Assessment

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. The person will fill out a special questionnaire. OCD may be diagnosed if certain symptoms:

  • Affect the person for at least 1 hour each day and/or
  • Cause emotional distress and problems functioning

The doctor will also look for other causes such as medicine, drug misuse, or another health problem. Most people are aware that the behaviors are excessive. This is important for the doctor to know.


  • About OCD. International OCD Foundation website. Available at: https://iocdf.org/about-ocd.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml.


  • Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.