Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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What do you think your life would be like if every time you washed your hands you felt as though your hands were sill dirty and you must wash them again? This is a very common with people who have obsessive compulsive disorder. According to —text—- “Obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which a person suffers from recurrent obsessions or compulsions or both.” (p. 376). People with OCD suffer from distressing repetative thoughts that seem to never go away (3). These distressing thoughts are commonly followed by absurd ritualized actions that help reduce the anxiety caused by the individuals obsessive thoughts.
Symptoms of Obsessive
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is usually characterized by having obsessions and compulsions. A person with OCD can have one or both of these characteristics (5). Obsessions are defined as recurrent and unpleasant thoughts that invade conciousness and ultimately cause the patient great distress (–). According to The National Institute of Mental Health (1988), many common obsessions include “persistent fears that harm may come to one self or love one, an unreasonable belief that one has a terrible illness, an excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly” (3). These thoughts cause the individual a very high level of anxiety. For example, a person with OCD my worry excessively about germs and whether or not they are going to be contaminated, or contaminate others. Once these thoughts are present the individual feels unable to control or eliminate them (1).
To try and make their obsessions go away, people with OCD often perform compulsions (5). A compulsion is a repeated behavior used to try and make the obsession go away. Compulsions are usually reapeated over and over again and normally follow a set of rules. A person with an obsession with contamination may repeatedly wash their hands over and over again until their hands are raw. Unlike gambling and drinking compulsions, OCD compulsions do not bring pleasure to the individual. They are only performed to give relief from the discomfort caused by their obsession.
Most people with obsessive compulsive disorder realize that their actions are unreasonable and excessie, but cannot control or eliminate them. People who do not recognize their actions as unreasonable are called OCD with poor insight. OCD can severly impact a persons social life, work and relationships. All symtoms related to obsessive compulsive disorder vary in degree. They can be very small and insignificant or cause large amounts of distress.
Causes of Obsessive
Currently the cause behind OCD has not been discovered, but there are many theories. According to 6, many resarchers believe that obsessive compulsive disorder may be inherited. Statistics show that if one person in a family posseses OCD, then there is a 25% chance that another family member has the condition. When OCD runs in families, (5) the specific symtptoms are not specifically inherited, just the general disorder.
Another theory is that OCD is caused by low levels or serotonin, a neurotransmitter. These neurotransmitters are responsible for delivery of electrical signals from one nerve cell to another and aid in controlling many of the mental activites that