Is OCD an Anxiety Disorder?

Doctors no longer categorise obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as an anxiety condition, even though it can involve elevated levels of anxiety.

OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a highly misdiagnosed illness. A common misconception regarding OCD is that it's an anxiety disorder.

OCD can have anxiety symptoms, however, according to the most recent editions of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR), OCD is not considered an anxiety disorder.

On the other hand, OCD and anxiety disorders can coexist.

Is OCD an anxiety disorder in the DSM?

No, OCD is not classified as an anxiety disorder in the most recent edition of the DSM. Rather, it falls under the heading of obsessive-compulsive disorders and related disorders.

Among the anxiety disorders are:
  • agoraphobia
  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • social anxiety disorder
  • separation anxiety disorder
  • selective mutism
  • panic disorder
  • specific phobia
It is feasible to suffer from more than one anxiety disorder concurrently. Additionally, OCD can coexist with one or more anxiety disorders.

What’s the history of OCD in the DSM?

The DSM is used by US clinicians to identify mental health issues such as OCD. Other conditions are also described and categorised in the handbook.

Periodically, the handbook is updated. The DSM-5-TR is the most recent edition, which is the fifth edition text revision.

The DSM's third edition, which was released in the 1980s, was the first to cover OCD. OCD was included in the category of anxiety disorders in the DSM-III.

OCD was categorised as an anxiety disorder by the DSM-IV as well.

OCD was reclassified as obsessive-compulsive and related disorders in the DSM-5.

In the most recent edition, the OCD diagnostic criteria were also modified. The criteria, "The thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems," is one that can be found in the DSM-IV. In the DSM-5, this criterion was removed.

What’s included in the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders DSM category?

The following mental health issues fall under the heading of obsessive-compulsive and associated disorders:
  • disease of the body dysmorphic (BDD)
  • disease of excoriation (skin plucking)
  • hoarding syndrome
  • Trichotillomania
  • OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • OCD and associated disorders brought on by another medical issue
  • further designated OCD and associated disorders
  • Drug- or substance-induced obsessive-compulsive disorder and associated disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder without a specific diagnosis

What’s the difference between OCD and anxiety?

A state of extreme worry is called anxiety. Even though anxiety disorders are illnesses of the mind, occasionally feeling nervous is not the same as having an anxiety disorder.

Even yet, others may simply call their anxiety disorder "anxiety."

On the other side, obsessive, unwelcome, and persistent thoughts are experienced by those who have OCD. After that, they could try to suppress the thought or the fear it causes by repeating actions (compulsion).

Even if someone with OCD knows that these repetitive behaviours aren't always beneficial, they may find it hard to give up compulsive behaviours like itching.

It is possible to have both OCD and anxiety disorders simultaneously.

Signs you may have OCD

Obsessions and compulsions constitute the two primary components of OCD.

Unwanted and bothersome ideas that are hard to ignore are called obsessions. These ideas could keep coming back to you.

The target of your obsessions might be anything; there are many different instances. However, a few recurring motifs are as follows:
  • phobias of hurting oneself or other people (harm OCD)
  • dread, sometimes known as gay obsessive-compulsive disorder, that you are not the sexual orientation you identify with
  • concerns about saying anything inappropriate, impolite, or vulgar
  • violent ideas or visuals
  • pictures or ideas that are suggestive of sexual activity
  • dread of discarding items
  • dread of falling ill
  • obtrusive noises, phrases, or images
  • doubting your relationships or your emotions towards someone (OCD in relationships)
  • ideas you consider to be unethical or blasphemous (scrupulosity)
  • psychologically reliving the past (OCD actual events)
Repetitive rituals, behaviours, or acts are known as compulsions, and they are carried out either to suppress the thought or to lessen its distress. These compulsive behaviours might be mental (thinking positively or praying) or physical (counting your steps, cleaning your hands, etc.).

Typical compulsions consist of:
  • Knives, scissors, and other potentially hazardous items should be avoided or hidden.
  • Verifying again that you've shut off the gas, closed the doors and other things
  • gathering specific objects
  • tally things, acts, or steps
  • mentally going over what you did to see if you injured somebody
  • grouping or positioning items in a particular manner
  • repeating particular words and phrases
  • obtaining comfort from people or by doing a study
  • Washing your hands, things, or body too much
Everybody occasionally experiences intrusive thoughts. It's not always the case that having intrusive thoughts indicates you have OCD. Similarly, a lot of people who do not have OCD have rituals or habits.

However, you may choose to seek help if you experience extremely upsetting intrusive thoughts and feel compelled to perform specific rituals to get rid of them. You might be able to get some relief by talking to a therapist.

Bottom line

There is no category for OCD under anxiety disorders. On the other hand, OCD frequently coexists with severe anxiety.

Seeking help from a mental health expert is a smart option if you think you may have OCD or an anxiety problem. You can feel better and manage your distress with the support of therapy. Find out more about getting additional mental health assistance and selecting the best therapist.


Is OCD considered anxiety?

Anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in the DSM-III, DSM-III-R, and DSM-IV.

Does OCD ever go away?

there is no cure

Can someone with OCD fall in love?

Although there are obstacles on both ends, OCD sufferers can have fulfilling and constructive relationships both in their personal and professional lives if they are equipped with the right knowledge and resources.

Is it okay to marry a person with OCD?

Even though OCD can occasionally cause problems in a relationship, there are steps you can take to support your partner.

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