The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) provides clinicians with official definitions of and criteria for diagnosing mental disorders and dysfunctions. Although not all experts agree on the definitions and criteria set forth in the DSM-5, it is considered the "gold standard" by most mental health professionals in the United States. DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (300.3)
A. Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both:
Obsessions are defined by (1) and (2):
1. Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress.
2.The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion).
Compulsions are defined by (1) and (2):
1. Repetitive behaviours (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
2. The behaviours or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviours or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive.
Note: Young children may not be able to articulate the aims of these behaviours or mental acts.
B. The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming (e.g., take more than 1 hour per day) or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The obsessive-compulsive symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition.
D. The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., excessive worries, as in generalized anxiety disorder; preoccupation with appearance, as in body dysmorphic disorder; difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, as in hoarding disorder; hair pulling, as in trichotillomania [hair-pulling disorder]; skin picking, as in excoriation [skin-picking] disorder; stereotypies, as in stereotypic movement disorder; ritualized eating behavior, as in eating disorders; preoccupation with substances or gambling, as in substance-related and addictive disorders; preoccupation with having an illness, as in illness anxiety disorder; sexual urges or fantasies, as in paraphilic disorders; impulses, as in disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders; guilty ruminations, as in major depressive disorder; thought insertion or delusional preoccupations, as in schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; or repetitive patterns of behavior, as in autism spectrum disorder).
A list of common obsessions included in OCD, please note the list is not all-inclusive as we are all unique individuals and will experience the condition differently.
It is possible to have a combination of the following list or just one. Plus there are several variations of the below. This is merely a guideline to help you to know the extent of OCD and how others with obsessions affect them.
In terms of OCD it is not about the content of the obsession it is about the process.
As OCD is a complex and intricate disorder the sufferer can experience variables of the following or even different types of ritualistic behaviours not listed below.
All compulsions are performed to relieve, neutralise or get rid of the obsession.
However, this is always counterproductive as it gives more meaning and significance to the problem. Behaving in an obsessive way makes you more obsessive. The intention of therapy is to learn coping skills and understanding to reverse the problem.