1. Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Review

  1. Mario Maj1,
  2. Norman Sartorius2,
  3. Ahmed Okasha3 and
  4. Joseph Zohar4
  1. Ahmed Okasha

Published Online: 28 NOV 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0470846496.ch1

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4

How to Cite

Okasha, A. (2000) Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Review, in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4 (eds M. Maj, N. Sartorius, A. Okasha and J. Zohar), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846496.ch1

Editor Information

  1. 1

    University of Naples, Italy

  2. 2

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

  3. 3

    Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

  4. 4

    Tel Aviv University, Israel

Author Information

  1. University of Naples, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 NOV 2001
  2. Published Print: 16 JUN 2000

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471871637

Online ISBN: 9780470846490



  • DSM-IV;
  • ICD-10;
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • diagnosis;
  • epidemiology


A syndrome related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been recognized for more than 300 years. Early descriptions focused on different aspects of the syndrome, and reflected the prevailing culture of the observers. English explanations stressed religious aspects and a relationship to melancholy; French phenomenologists emphasized the importance of doubt and loss of will; the German view focused on the irrational nature of the thoughts, linking the disorder to psychosis. Current epidemiological data suggest that OCD is the fourth most common mental disorder. Only phobias, substance abuse, and depression are more common, and OCD is nearly as common as asthma and diabetes mellitus. Although this contradicts the original view that OCD is a rare psychiatric affliction, the latter notion (together with the often secretive nature of the disorder) continues to impede diagnosis.