OCD involves a pattern of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) followed by repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These thoughts and corresponding behaviors may take up a lot of time and energy, and interfere with your ability to carry out daily activities. OCD symptoms often center around certain themes such as cleanliness, a need for order or security, fear of losing control, or anxiety related to engaging in abnormal or offensive behavior.
Examples of compulsive behaviors include excessive hand washing that interferes with skin integrity, repeatedly checking doors/lights/living spaces in a manner that interferes with an ability to leave or move forward, counting/praying repeatedly.
Doctors and mental health professionals test for OCD by talking with you about your symptoms, determining if you have obsessions and compulsive behaviors, and by evaluating if these thoughts and behaviors interfere with your functioning.
Mental health professionals often use a structured interview which involves asking standard questions to assess if your symptoms are consistent with OCD. These questions determine the severity, nature, and duration of your symptoms.
OCD is most commonly treated with a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and medication. The medication most commonly used to treat OCD is called serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SRIs. Your therapist will use CBT/ERP techniques and talk with you about being seen by a medical professional to determine if medication is right for you.