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What Are The First Symptoms Of OCD & How Do You Test For It?

OCD is the acronym for obsessive-compulsive disorder and it is a type of anxiety disorder, during which people have unwanted and recurring thoughts, sensations and ideas, which force them to involve in any repetitive activity i.e. compulsion. Here, the repetitive behaviors are washing hands frequently, checking different things or cleaning frequently, all of which will interfere with the daily activities as well as social interactions done by an individual.

What Are The First Symptoms Of OCD?

Most of the people experienced focused thoughts and/or repeated behaviors. However, such aspects do not cause any disruption in daily life and add structure or make various tasks as easy as possible. On the other side, OCD patients have unwanted routines, rigid behaviors, and persistent thoughts, while if they fail to do so, they experience a huge level of distress.

Most of the people suffering from OCD suspect or know that their obsessions are false, while others perceive they may be true i.e. poor insight. Even though some people think that they have false obsessions, most of the OCD patients experience a hard time avoiding them and in turn, often involve in compulsive actions.(1)

Initial Symptoms Of OCD

Both thoughts and behaviors in OCD patients force them to face a huge level of distress and need a huge amount of time i.e. about one hour in one day. Also, OCD related behaviors interfere with their daily life and their relationships. Most of the patients with an obsessive-compulsive type of disorder have compulsions and obsessions both. However, a few people experience only one between the two.

Common Symptoms Or Obsessive Thoughts Present In OCD Patients Are-

  • Fear to get contaminated because of dirt, germs and other similar types of contaminated elements/humans
  • Fear to lose control and harm others or yourself
  • Intrusive level of sexually explicit and violent images or thoughts
  • Fear to lose or not have anything, which you may need
  • Too much focus on moral and/or religious ideas
  • Superstitions i.e. excessive attention towards anything you consider as unlucky or lucky
  • Symmetry and order i.e. the idea that everything should line up in just right manner

Common Compulsive Behaviors In OCD Patients

  • Excessive checkings of different things, like switches, appliances, and locks
  • Repeatedly checking in to loved ones to assure that they are safe
  • Tapping, counting or repeating specific words or involving in senseless activities to reduce the anxiety levels
  • Spending too much time in cleaning or washing
  • Arranging or ordering things just so
  • Involving in various rituals triggered via religious fear or praying excessively(2)

How Do You Test For OCD?

Doctors and healthcare professionals have to consider different factors in mind while you should move ahead to conduct a diagnosis for OCD. However, OCD-related obsessions and compulsions set off to debilitating anxiety and stress, while both of them are time-consuming. If you suffer from OCD, you will spend many hours to think about the obsession or to carry out the ritual or compulsion. For instance, people suffering from OCD usually miss appointments or works due to compulsions.(3)

Tests To Diagnose Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Doctors recommend the following tests to diagnose the problem of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • Physical Examination: Physical examination helps to rule out various problems, which trigger your symptoms and to check any other related complications.
  • Lab Tests: Lab tests may include checking a thyroid function, CBC i.e. complete blood count and screening of drugs and alcohol.
  • Psychological Evaluation: Psychological evaluation consists of discussing your symptoms, feelings, thoughts and behavioral patterns. Moreover, after you give permission only, your doctor may discuss your conditions with your family members and friends.(4)


To conclude, we should say that obsessive-compulsive disorder has various symptoms, which cause anxiety and stress. However, the tests associated with OCD diagnosis are of time-consuming but involve different things, like psychological evaluation, lab examination, and physical examination.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 28, 2021

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