Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, whereas compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly. While the specific content of obsessions and compulsions varies among individuals, certain symptom dimensions are common in OCD, including those of cleaning (contamination obsessions and cleaning compulsions); symmetry (symmetry obsessions and repeating, ordering, and counting compulsions); forbidden or taboo thoughts (e.g., aggressive, sexual, and religious obsessions and related compulsions); and harm (e.g., fears of harm to oneself or others and related checking compulsions).

 

Panic Disorder

In panic disorder, the individual experiences recurrent unexpected panic attacks and is persistently concerned or worried about having more panic attacks or changes his or her behavior in maladaptive ways because of the panic attacks (e.g., avoidance of exercise or of unfamiliar locations). Panic attacks are abrupt surges of intense fear or intense discomfort that reach a peak within minutes, accompanied by physical and/or cognitive symptoms. Limited-symptom panic attacks include fewer than four symptoms. Panic attacks may be expected, such as in response to a typically feared object or situation, or unexpected, meaning that the panic attack occurs for no apparent reason. Panic attacks function as a marker and prognostic factor for severity of diagnosis, course, and comorbidity across an array of disorders, including, but not limited to, the anxiety disorders (e.g., substance use, depressive and psychotic disorders). Panic attack may therefore be used as a descriptive specifier for any anxiety disorder as well as other mental disorders.

 

Agoraphobia

Individuals with agoraphobia are fearful and anxious about two or more of the following situations: using public transportation; being in open spaces; being in enclosed places; standing in line or being in a crowd; or being outside of the home alone in other situations. The individual fears these situations because of thoughts that escape might be difficult or help might not be available in the event of developing panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms. These situations almost always induce fear or anxiety and are often avoided and require the presence of a companion.

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The key features of generalized anxiety disorder are persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about various domains, including work and school performance, that the individual finds difficult to control. In addition, the individual experiences physical symptoms, including restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge; being easily fatigued; difficulty concentrating or mind going blank; irritability; muscle tension; and sleep disturbance.

 

Social Anxiety Disorder (aka Social Phobia)

In social anxiety disorder (social phobia), the individual is fearful or anxious about or avoidant of social interactions and situations that involve the possibility of being scrutinized. These include social interactions such as meeting unfamiliar people, situations in which the individual may be observed eating or drinking, and situations in which the individual performs in front of others. The cognitive ideation is of being negatively evaluated by others, by being embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected, or offending others.

 

Selective Mutism

It is characterized by a consistent failure to speak in social situations in which there is an expectation to speak (e.g., school) even though the individual speaks in other situations. The failure to speak has significant consequences on achievement in academic or occupational settings or otherwise interferes with normal social communication.

 

Specific Phobia

Individuals with specific phobia are fearful or anxious about or avoidant of circumscribed objects or situations. A specific cognitive ideation is not featured in this disorder, as it is in other anxiety disorders. The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is almost always immediately induced by the phobic situation, to a degree that is persistent and out of proportion to the actual risk posed. There are various types of specific phobias: animal; natural environment; blood-injection-injury; situational; and other situations.

 

Separation Anxiety Disorder

The individual with separation anxiety disorder is fearful or anxious about separation from attachment figures to a degree that is developmentally inappropriate. There is persistent fear or anxiety about harm coming to attachment figures and events that could lead to loss of or separation from attachment figures and reluctance to go away from attachment figures, as well as nightmares and physical symptoms of distress. Although the symptoms often develop in childhood, they can be expressed throughout adulthood as well.

 

Major Depressive Disorder (Depression)

The individual with a major depressive disorder experiences either depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities for a period of at least two weeks.  In children and adolescents, the mood may be irritable rather than sad. The individual also experiences at least four additional symptoms drawn from a list that includes changes in appetite or weight, sleep, and psychomotor activity; decreased energy; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions; or recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation or suicide plans or attempts. To count toward a major depressive episode, a symptom must either be newly present or must have clearly worsened compared with the person's pre-episode status. The symptoms must persist for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 2 consecutive weeks. The episode must be accompanied by clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. For some individuals with milder episodes, functioning may appear to be normal but requires markedly increased effort.

 

Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder is characterized by persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value, as a result of a strong perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with discarding them. Hoarding disorder differs from normal collecting. For example, symptoms of hoarding disorder result in the accumulation of a large number of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas to the extent that their intended use is substantially compromised. The excessive acquisition form of hoarding disorder, which characterizes most but not all individuals with hoarding disorder, consists of excessive collecting, buying, or stealing of items that are not needed or for which there is no available space.

 

Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder)

Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) is characterized by recurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in hair loss, and repeated attempts to decrease or stop hair pulling. The body focused repetitive behaviors that characterize trichotillomania are not triggered by obsessions or preoccupations; however, they may be preceded or accompanied by various emotional states, such as feelings of anxiety or boredom. They may also be preceded by an increasing sense of tension or may lead to gratification, pleasure, or a sense of relief when the hair is pulled out. Individuals with this disorder may have varying degrees of conscious awareness of the behavior while engaging in it, with some individuals displaying more focused attention on the behavior (with preceding tension and subsequent relief) and other individuals displaying more automatic behavior (with the behaviors seeming to occur without full awareness).

 

Excoriation (Skin-Picking Disorder)

Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder is characterized by recurrent picking of one’s skin resulting in skin lesions and repeated attempts to decrease or stop skin picking. The body focused repetitive behaviors that characterize excoriation are not triggered by obsessions or preoccupations; however, they may be preceded or accompanied by various emotional states, such as feelings of anxiety or boredom. They may also be preceded by an increasing sense of tension or may lead to gratification, pleasure, or a sense of relief when the skin is picked. Individuals with this disorder may have varying degrees of conscious awareness of the behavior while engaging in it, with some individuals displaying more focused attention on the behavior (with preceding tension and subsequent relief) and other individuals displaying more automatic behavior (with the behaviors seeming to occur without full awareness).

 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear only slight to others, and by repetitive behaviors (e.g., mirror checking, excessive grooming, skin picking, or reassurance seeking) or mental acts (e.g., comparing one’s appearance versus that of other people) in response to the appearance concerns. The appearance preoccupations are not better explained by concerns with body fat or weight in an individual with an eating disorder. Muscle dysmorphia is a form of body dysmorphic disorder that is characterized by the belief that one’s body build is too small or is insufficiently muscular.

 

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”)

The essential feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to one or more traumatic events. The clinical presentation of PTSD varies. In some individuals, fear-based re- experiencing, emotional, and behavioral symptoms may predominate. In others, anhedonic or dysphoric mood states and negative cognitions may be most distressing. In some other individuals, arousal and reactive-externalizing symptoms are prominent, while in others, dissociative symptoms predominate. Finally, some individuals exhibit combinations of these symptom patterns.