How is obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosed?

There is no laboratory test for OCD. The provider bases the diagnosis on an assessment of the patient’s symptoms, and the impact on the patient’s overall functioning. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V) is used as a guideline. DSM-V, compiled by the American Psychiatric Association, is the standard reference manual for the diagnosis of recognized mental illnesses in the United States.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/02/2014.


  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD Accessed: 6/2/2014
  • Eisendrath SJ, Lichtmacher JE. Chapter 25. Psychiatric Disorders. In: Papadakis MA, McPhee SJ, Rabow MW. eds. CURRENT Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.
  • Bipolar and Related Disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated; 2013.

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