Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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“I know my hands are clean. I know that I have touched nothing dangerous. But
I doubt my perception. Soon, if I do not wash, a mind numbing, searing anxiety will
cripple me. A feeling of stickiness will begin to spread from the point of contamination and
I will be lost in a place I do not want to go. So I wash until the feeling is gone, until the
anxiety subsides. Then I feel defeated. So I do less and less, my world becomes smaller
and smaller and more lonely by the day” (Healthy Place: OCD Community). The writer of
this poem has a disease call Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In OCD, it is as
though the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just cant let go. OCD can
persist throughout a persons life, gradually worsening. If not treated, OCD can drastically
affect all aspects of a persons life: work, school, friends, and family (Weiskopf).
Worries, doubts, and superstitious beliefs all are common in everyday life.
However, when they become so excessive as to interrupt ones daily life, then the
diagnosis is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a
disorder that is not commonly heard of, but surprisingly it affects 2% of the population,
more than those with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
(Plexus Staff). OCD is an anxiety disorder that manifests itself through obsessions and
compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, overwhelming, recurrent, and unpleasant
thoughts. Dr. John R. Smith says, ” The obsessions are recurrent thoughts, which an OCD
sufferer experiences as being outside their control, although they know those thoughts are
coming from their own mind.” (McShane 14). A person with OCD might constantly repeat
a thought in their head, which can be triggered by an external or internal object. Some
common obsessions include repeated impulses to kill a loved family member, incessant
worries about dirt or contamination, and recurrent thoughts about something that has not
been done properly. A person with these constant thoughts understands that they are
senseless, but ignoring them is very difficult. For example, a person with an obsession
about contamination might have a thought like “Dont touch that door knob, it might
spread a disease,” or “My hands may be contaminated–I must wash them.” These types of
persistent thoughts might enter a persons mind suddenly or very gradually. The
obsessions intrude into the consciousness of the person, disrupting their normal thinking
and behavior (Silvia 2).
These intrusions can only be banished by the performance of compulsive rituals.
Compulsions are repeated, purposeless, and elaborately time-consuming behaviors that are
usually performed in response to an obsession. The behaviors are an attempt to neutralize
or prevent a dreadful event from happening. Some common compulsions include excessive
hand washing, showering, checking, counting, and hoarding. Compulsions can be thoughts
or physical behaviors that may or may not be set to some self-imposed rules. The person
realizes that their compulsions are senseless and irrational, but do not stop because they
are worried about the consequences that may follow (Penzel 5). If ignored, compulsions
can cause serious panic attacks. But the sad thing about it is that doing the rituals do not
help; they only make things worse (Cronin).
Currently, there are a number of disorders that can be labeled as an
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Among these is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
BDD is where a person has obsessive thoughts about his or her body, looking for
abnormalities. They then spend hours examining the “defective” body part and may never
leave home because of their embarrassment. Another OCD disorder is Trichotillomania
(TTM). A person with TTM compulsively pulls out hairs from their head, arms, legs,
eyebrows, and pubic area. TTM sufferers spend hours searching until the “perfect hair” is
found. They often feel driven to pull out their hairs because they think that their hairs are
imperfect. Tourettes Syndrome is another OCD disorder where the patient is subjected to
uncontrollable motor activities. The person may blink, twitch, jerk their head, or repeat
obscene words or noises uncontrollably. Some others include Kleptomania, Anorexia, and
Binge Eating (Penzel 5-13). The list of OCD disorders goes on and on, but the one thing
that they all have in common are unwanted obsessions and/or compulsions.
As of now, there is no firm theory that explains the exact cause of OCD. However, there
is some evidence that OCD has a genetic basis because in many cases OCD has been
found in children. Actually 1/3 of all OCD cases began in childhood (“Obsessive
Compulsive Disorder Part I). Recent studies have found that the disorder may be

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Persons Life And Disease Call Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/persons-life-and-disease-call-obsessive-compulsive-disorder-essay/