Are you plagued by unwanted, intrusive thoughts that you can’t seem to shake? Do you feel an overwhelming need to repeat certain habitual behaviors and feel anxious or paranoid when you can’t? All of these tendencies may be signs that you’re suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
When discussing diagnosis, it’s always best to check with a medical professional before treating your condition. But even before you take that next step, an online OCD test might help confirm your suspicions. You may be wondering how accurate online OCD tests are and what types of questions they ask. We’re here to clear up the confusion.
Keep reading for a look inside online OCD tests and what they can teach you about yourself and your condition.
What is an online OCD test?
One of the best ways to determine if you’re at risk for a mental health disorder like OCD is to look at the evidence. If you exhibit several common symptoms and behaviors associated with this condition, it may be time to speak with a professional. An online OCD test can help get you one step closer to diagnosis.
Some online OCD tests are extensive and ask a number of very specific, sometimes repetitive, questions about your behavior and thoughts. Others are much shorter, with just a few broader questions that cover the most common OCD symptoms. It’s important to remember that these online assessments are screening tools. They are not and cannot substitute a medical diagnosis from a professional. Screening tools are brief questionnaires that examine risk factors and symptoms to determine if a more in-depth assessment is needed. They are a great first step in finding and getting the help you need.
Many of the questions you’ll encounter surround the types of intrusive thoughts you’re experiencing and how frequently. The test may also ask questions regarding compulsive behaviors, routines, and excessive worry.
Some specific examples include:
- Have you been bothered by unpleasant thoughts and images that repeatedly enter your mind? (Examples: germ contamination, keeping objects/hoarding)
- Do you worry about terrible things happening? (Examples: a fire in the home, spreading an illness, losing something of value)
- Are you driven to perform the same acts over and over again? (Example: excessive grooming or cleaning, checking door locks, light switches, or faucets, counting or collecting objects)
- Do you avoid certain colors or numbers? (Example: the number 13 because it’s deemed “unlucky” or color red because it represents blood)
By answering these questions honestly, an online OCD test can help determine whether or not you need professional intervention. In some cases, the website that produced the test may offer OCD treatment online. This is a viable option for those who are embarrassed by their condition, have difficulty leaving home, or want a program they can follow and complete at their own pace. Rest assured, many online treatment programs are designed and organized by medical professionals, psychologists, and experts in treating OCD and related conditions.
What does OCD treatment look like?
Whether you opt for an online program or visit a therapist or counsellor in person, one of the most common and effective ways to treat OCD is through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive-behavioural therapy has proven effective at treating a myriad of issues from anxiety and substance abuse to mental health conditions like PTSD, bipolar disorder, and yes, OCD.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a form of psychological intervention designed to recognise and replace negative thoughts and behaviours associated with a specific idea – in this case, whatever triggers are driving your obsessive behaviors. By identifying the cause of your thoughts, worries, and compulsions, therapists can help you adopt more positive thoughts and behaviours. The end goal is to reduce the frequency of intrusive thoughts and compulsions.
One effective CBT technique for OCD is exposure therapy. This involves gradually exposing yourself to situations, objects, or concepts that trigger your obsessions and compulsions. While this may be difficult at first, exposure helps to desensitize you to these triggers, robbing them of the control and power they have over you. As you learn to cope and overcome the stress and anxiety you feel, you can increase the intensity of exposure until you no longer feel panicked in certain situations.
CBT also works to replace intrusive thoughts by disproving inaccurate or false information. If you suffer from excessive worry over things like natural disasters, accidents, or other events out of your control, a therapist can help you take a more objective look at the situation. By examining facts and proof rather than unfounded beliefs you’ve created in your mind, you may be able to reduce your stress and paranoia.
A certified medical professional may also recommend certain OCD medications in combination with CBT and other therapies.
An online OCD test can put you on the path to recovery
If you think you might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, an online OCD test can get you one step closer to getting the intervention you need. By asking a few insightful questions, these screening tools can help determine if further evaluation or treatment is needed. Be honest with your answers and yourself. Once you accept the circumstances, you can start the healing and recovery process and learn to control your OCD instead of letting it control you.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.
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