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OCD Surveys May Diagnose Other Mental Illnesses

Update Date: May 13, 2014 07:01 PM EDT

Questionnaires used to diagnose obsessive-compulsive disorder may also help identify the risk of anxiety and depression.

Psychologists found that a shortened version of a survey used to determine if someone has obsessive-compulsive disorder may also be accurate in assessing the risk mental health illnesses caused by certain OCD beliefs, like seeing threats as greater than they are and feeling that things are unacceptable unless flawless. Researchers said this take of thinking is central to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The latest study evaluated the test made after the initial Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire, which was developed in 2001 and consisted of 87 items. The test has since been revised and shortened three times. The most recent revision was in 2011.

The most updated test has only 20 times, but the concepts have remained the same.

Researchers explained that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder have a tendency to overestimate threats, have an inflated sense of responsibility, be perfectionists and fear disturbing thoughts because they feel helpless. Some common symptoms include behavior like excessive washing or repeated checking.

"At one time, the questionnaire was used because it was thought that responsibility or overestimation of threat might be specific to OCD," researcher Thomas Fergus, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences said in a news release. "But the short of it now is that certain beliefs appear to be relevant for more than OCD, so this might help us better understand depression and anxiety and have a broader application."

The findings were published in the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.

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