How Is OCD Diagnosed?

What’s the process for diagnosing OCD? What kind of mental health professional should I be looking for?
The Experts | posted by Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D.
Roberto Olivardia 2016_180px

Much like ADHD, it’s important to see somebody who really specializes in the disorder. Honestly, there are a lot of therapists who may say they know a lot about OCD, but they may not — and they may not be trained in the proper therapy methods.

There’s an organization called the International OCD Foundation. On its website ( you’ll find a treatment provider directory, which identifies professionals in your zip code who are trained in OCD. I suggest starting there.

When it comes to diagnosis, your therapist should be thorough — OCD is a difficult disorder to diagnosis, and your therapist shouldn’t make the decision lightly. In most cases, they’ll use something called the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (or Y-BOCS, for short). The Y-BOCS is a comprehensive questionnaire outlining the nature of a patient’s obsessions or compulsions, how long they have presented themselves, and how intrusive they are to a patient’s life.

Professionals will also take a detailed medical history, as well as a comprehensive mental health history to determine if it’s OCD, a disorder on the OCD spectrum, or even generalized anxiety disorder.

Ultimately, you should be looking for a full clinical interview with someone who truly understands what OCD is and how to treat it.

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