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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (cont.)

When should I seek medical care for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Signs that people need to seek medical care are when the thoughts or rituals associated with OCD affect their quality of life. People who have questions about a particular treatment should contact a qualified health-care professional, local medical or mental-health society, or university medical school for additional information.

What questions should I ask my doctor about OCD?

Because the specific cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is unknown, there is no established treatment to cure OCD. Treatment is aimed at minimizing or relieving symptoms, and some proposed treatments are unproven and may be harmful. Always ask your doctor about any new treatment, including any herbal supplements.

How is obsessive compulsive disorder diagnosed?

Many health-care professionals may help diagnose OCD: licensed mental-health therapists, family physicians, or other primary-care providers, specialists whom you see for a medical condition, emergency physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers. There is no specific test for OCD. Therefore, its diagnosis may be based on the following:

  • Certain signs and symptoms must be present, as previously described.
  • The professional may use a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help assess your history and current risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts.
  • A physical examination and laboratory tests are often done to rule out medical conditions that may cause or worsen anxiety. Examples of such tests include a complete blood count, blood chemistries, thyroid function tests, and liver function tests.
  • Your doctor may perform the following imaging studies: an X-ray, scan, or other radiologic study if something that is found on physical exam or in blood tests indicates the need for an imaging study.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2016

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