Phenomenology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Carol A. Mathews

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Phenomenology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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This chapter focuses on the phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is an anxiety disorder whose key features are recurrent, distressing, intrusive obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) occur along a continuum; mild or moderate symptoms are normal or adaptive in some circumstances, but can develop into a clinically significant disorder if they persist or cause substantial distress or impairment. OCD is heterogeneous, with multiple symptom subtypes (e.g., contamination fears, aggressive or sexual obsessions, hoarding) that may have different etiologies and treatment response patterns. OCD is also frequently comorbid with other psychiatric disorders, including tic, eating, mood, and other anxiety disorders. Although the phenomenology of OCD is well elucidated, the relationship between normal OCS and OCD, and their relationships to other neuropsychiatric disorders is less well understood.

Keywords: avoidance behavior; compulsion; obsession; obsessive-compulsive disorder; OCD diagnostic; OCD phenomenology; obsessive-compulsive spectrum; phenotype; rumination; symptom subtype; threat domain

Article.  6162 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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