Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder which can involve excessive worrying or repetitive actions linked to anxiety. OCD can cause very significant amounts of distress and can be fairly persistent if not treated. For some individuals, OCD can first appear in childhood and can easily appear in environments in which one experiences a strong need to perform at a high level. For instance, some children experience their first symptoms of OCD in connection with a strong desire to perform in school.
OCD and Anxiety
OCD used to be categorized alongside anxiety-related disorders and although there are several links between OCD-related symptoms and one’s experience of anxiety, the American Psychiatric Association considered the disorder to be separate starting in 2013. An obsessive thought, one which repeats and repeats in the mind, can work to increase distress as it replays. Obsessive thoughts can often lead to a significant expenditure of mental resources, or occupy a substantial portion of an individual’s thought content throughout the day. In some cases, the sheer amount of exposure that an individual has to the obsessive thoughts over time can intensify a sense of rigidity. Compulsions, or repetitive actions linked to anxiety, can often times accompany specific obsessive thoughts and can represent attempts to relieve the anxiety that has been generated. Or, at times, compulsions can exist independently and can create distress on their own.
Psychological Testing for OCD
Obsessions and compulsions can take many different forms and can look very different from person to person, although there are typically similar underlying features. A trained mental health provider can help you to identify whether your particular worries or actions could be caused by OCD. When psychological testing is used to evaluate OCD, a variety of methods are used to collect data. These can include interviews, self-report measures, and the psychologist’s observations. Also, it is crucial for the psychologist to integrate these findings with information from the client’s history. As OCD is not considered to be a simple manifestation of anxiety (it is in a separate category altogether), the treatment can look different than typical anxiety-based treatments. The results of psychological testing can help to guide treatment. As we understand how OCD is specifically impacting an individual’s overall well-being, and how the symptoms may influence other psychological areas (such as self-image, depression, information processing, and attention), we can give recommendations to address these concerns.