Do I Have OCD? What An OCD Test Can Tell You

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 06/24/2022

If you or any of your loved ones may be experiencing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies, this page is here to provide you with information regarding the symptoms and causes so you may begin your first steps of receiving professional care and guidance.

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a term that is often misused in everyday conversation by people to describe instances of keeping their environment extremely clean and tidy. It’s also normal behavior for us to worry about germs or whether we turned the oven off. However, when an individual is diagnosed with the condition, it can negatively affect their well-being and quality of life significantly.

OCD is a common mental health disorder that is chronic and long-lasting. An individual may experience uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that are extremely distressing and intrusive to their day to day life, such as school, work, and personal relationships.

Signs And Symptoms: How To Tell If You Have OCD

The signs and symptoms of OCD do not occur all at once. When the onset of symptoms is triggered, they can appear as seemingly normal behaviors. Triggers of OCD can include a personal crisis or a negative experience that causes extreme distress, such as a loved one's death.

Obsessions are the presence of repeated urges, thoughts, or mental images that cause extreme stress and anxiety. Whereas compulsions are the repetitive behaviors that an individual feels the urge to perform in response to the obsessive thoughts to mitigate the increased distress. Individuals may also realize that they are over-thinking and that their behavior is not logical and irrational; however, they will still find it challenging to stop as their brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge for hours.

How To Identify Obsessions

Common examples of obsessions may include the following:

  • Fear Of Germs And Contamination: You may fear touching objects that others have previously touched, such as a door handle or TV remote.
  • Perfectionism:You may become fearful that something terrible may happen if things in your environment aren't in order or symmetrical.
  • Harm: The fear of being directly responsible for a catastrophic event.
  • Religious Or Superstitious Beliefs: You focus on the significance of religion and religious matters, such as a concern about offending God or stepping on a sidewalk's cracks when walking.
  • Sexually Disturbing Thoughts: You become plagued with gruesome images or other disturbing, intrusive thoughts relating to sex or genitalia.
  • Relationship Issues: You continuously think about your sexuality, your relationship, or that your partner is unfaithful.

How To Identify Compulsions

Common examples of compulsions may include the following:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing.
  • You repeatedly check on excessively checking if the door is locked or your hair straightener is off.
  • Compulsive Counting:Counting to a specific number repeatedly.
  • Doing things in a particular order, a certain amount of times, or in a repeated pattern.
  • Hoarding: Finding difficulty getting rid of items in your home because you fear that something terrible may happen to yourself or someone else if you do.

As previously mentioned, OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. An important aspect to note is that not all rituals and habits are compulsive. We all have daily routines we follow, and it is normal for us to double-check things once in a while. Whereas an individual with OCD generally:

  • Can’t control the presence of unwanted thoughts, urges, or images
  • Does not wish to experience these intrusive thoughts and feelings, and yet cannot stop having them.
  • Experiences a significant amount of discomfort that may include feelings of fear, doubt, disgust, or conviction that things must be done a certain way
  • Spends a lot of time focusing on these obsessions while engaging in compulsions which interfere with personal, social, and professional activities (at least one hour a day)

Individuals with OCD may also experience a tic disorder that is both vocal and motor. Vocal tics can include repetitive sounds or throat-clearing. In contrast, motor tics can consist of sudden eye blinking, shoulder jerking, or shrugging. These symptoms can appear infrequently and will either ease or worsen over time, depending on the individual. Individuals diagnosed with OCD may also attempt to aid themselves by participating in avoidance activities such as alcohol and drugs to relieve their overall symptoms.

OCD Symptoms In Children

While the onset of OCD symptoms usually occurs during adolescent years, children may also experience symptoms that may look like OCD. Symptoms with similar symptoms include ADHD, Tourette's syndrome, and autism, so it is essential to consult a doctor to determine the systems' cause before a diagnosis is determined.

Prevalence Of OCD In Society

The U.S. National Library of Medicine records that approximately 2% of the world's population has been diagnosed with OCD, with symptoms appearing during childhood and adolescence. Research suggests that while most people are diagnosed by the age of 19, an earlier onset has been observed across research studies found in males rather than females. Conversely, the onset of the disorder after the age of 35 rarely occurs amongst males and females.

 Signs Of OCD In Children

Although the first signs of OCD appear in the adolescent years, here are the common symptoms in children:

  • Disruption of daily routines
  • Trouble forming and maintaining positive friendships and relationships with others
  • Difficulty completing schoolwork
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress-related illnesses

What Causes OCD?

While researchers have been unable to identify the causes of OCD, there are still apparent risk factors that may influence the disorder's presence.

Genetic Causes

Researchers who have conducted twin and family studies have discovered that individuals with a parent or sibling with an OCD diagnosis are at a higher risk of developing a mental disorder, which suggests an apparent genetic link in some families rather than others. However, researchers are continuing to explore this connection to provide further information into the emergence of the disorder.

Environmental Causes

In some cases, researchers have discovered a link between stressful life events such as childbirth, birth complications, and childhood trauma, and OCD symptoms. Many individuals have reported symptoms within six months of the event occurring. However, more research is needed to understand the relationship between the two variables more conclusively.

OCD Diagnosis

When visiting a psychiatrist or doctor, the diagnosis process is likely to include the following evaluations:

  • Physical Examination to determine whether your symptoms are related to any other underlying medical condition.
  • A Blood Test to evaluate your blood count and check to see if your thyroid is working correctly.
  • A Psychological Evaluation regarding your fears, feelings, obsession, compulsions, and actions.

Speak To A Professional About How To Treat OCD

OCD is typically treated using a form of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that can be subcategorized further into treatments such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and cognitive therapy.

Exposure And Response Prevention (ERP)

The treatment of ERP involves exposing an individual to a situation and objects that trigger fear and anxiety. Over time the repeated exposure will lead to a decrease or disappearance of anxiety through a process called habituation, which will ultimately teach the individual to resist performing compulsive behaviors in response to the triggers. Especially when it comes to intrusive thoughts, it can be very beneficial for an individual to realize that they are not actually at risk of carrying out the thoughts that come into their head; rather, the thoughts are simply that: thoughts that will quickly dissipate if you do not give them any attention.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

On the other hand, cognitive therapy encourages the individual to identify their beliefs regarding the consequences of refraining from engaging in compulsive behaviors. It then teaches the individual to determine their cognitive distortions relating to their obsessions, examine the evidence that supports/does not support the obsession, and then develop less threatening alternative responses to the intrusive thoughts, images, or ideas.

For all guidance regarding treatment, please consult a licensed medical professional.

What An OCD Test Can Tell You

You may be wondering, do I have OCD? If you are experiencing any of the above-related signs and symptoms continuously, you may be suffering from OCD. One important thing to consider is that while taking an OCD screening quiz can be a good starting point to assess if you want professional help, it should not be treated as a diagnosis. If you or somebody you care about is experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, taking this free short quiz will help provide you with clarity on what next steps to take.

What Does The OCD Quiz Consist Of?

Our “Do I Have OCD?” quiz consists of a series of questions intended to provide you with insight into your symptoms and how they may impact your life. This OCD quiz is a helpful tool that will help you understand more about how you feel and whether your symptoms may be related to OCD. People may find it easier to come to terms with their symptoms and experience a sense of confirmation following the quiz and reach out to a healthcare professional.

What To Do After Taking A “Do I Have OCD?” Test

After completing our online quiz, it is recommended that you speak with your medical provider for more information and a further diagnosis. We also recommend visiting a licensed therapist or counselor to further discuss your options for other treatment and support.