What are Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Updated: May 17, 2018
  • Author: William M Greenberg, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), [3] released in 2013, includes a new chapter for OCD and related disorders, including body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation disorder. Previously, OCD was grouped together with anxiety disorders.

The American Psychiatric Association defines OCD as the presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both. Obsessions are defined by (1) and (2) as follows:

  1. Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and cause marked anxiety and distress

  2. The person attempts to suppress or ignore such thoughts, impulses, or images or to neutralize them with some other thought or action

Compulsions are defined by (1) and (2) as follows:

  1. Repetitive behaviors (eg, hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (eg, praying, counting, repeating words silently) in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly

  2. The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a way that could realistically neutralize or prevent whatever they are meant to address, or they are clearly excessive

See Workup for more detail.

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