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Definition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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    I. Definition of obsessive compulsive disorder

    We all have quirks that take up small bits of the day. Very often,

    people wrestling with an obsessive compulsive disorder invest hours of their

    day avoiding these concerns. People with an obsessive compulsive

    disorder (OCD) have an intolerance and rejection of a mental experience

    that generates a tremendous amount of agitation and anxiety over losing

    control of ones mind. “It seems as if that one aspect of OCD is and

    overactive conscience” (Article on Scrupulosity).

    The definition of obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder

    that is characterized by repetitive, irrational, intrusive thoughts, impulses or

    images and irresistible impulses to engage repeatedly in some acts

    Individuals with an obsessive compulsive disorder do not want or

    enjoy the obsessive thoughts or time-consuming compulsions. They think

    of them as excessive and feel as if they interfere with daily functions. The

    reason for this caution and avoidance of details is simple: many people with

    OCD are troubled by very explicit, offensive, and socially horrifying,

    The most common and well-studied branch of OCD involves the OC

    where the undoing response generally involves some overt behavior. The

    presence of dirt evokes a sense of threat and an incredible inspiration to

    reduce contamination. Most commonly the escape ritual involves a cleaning

    response. The next common form of OCD involves checking. The

    overwhelming impulse to recheck remains until the person experiences a

    reduction in tension despite the realizations that the item is secure. A less

    common form of OCD includes hoarding, which is the excessive saving of

    typically worthless items. Ordering is a subcatagory where persons feel

    compelled to place items in a designated spot or order. This person fears a

    sense of being overwhelmed and impending anarchy if items are not placed

    exactly as they are arbitrarily determined. Another form of OCD is

    perfectionism, in which persons feel compelled to habitually check for

    potential mistakes or errors that might reveal their own faults or might

    jeopardize the person’s stature at work.

    The next branch discussed will be the purely obsession OC. The

    objective in this classification involves the escape or avoidance throughout

    “excessive mental behavior” of noxious and unwanted thoughts. Persons

    with the Pure-O classification also can experience what seems to them to be

    threatening ideation involving the potential that they might do harm to

    others or that merely the idea of having the threatening thought suggests

    something evil or depraved about their identify, capability of selfworth.

    Superstitiousness might take a great significance in OCD.

    The last branch involves a somewhat more complex and difficult to

    that form OCD, and that is responsibility OC (hyperscupulosity). Here, the

    person’s concern is not for themselves, but directed toward the well-being

    of others. Typically, significant others are thought of as the predominant

    focus on which to prevent harm from comeing. More obscure forms of

    OCD involve body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphia is a condition where a

    person becomes excessively focused on some body part, which they

    perceive to be grossly disformed. Another sub-classification of OCD

    involves an olfactory obsession in which persons are entrenched in the idea

    that some part of their body is emitting a noxious aroma. This form of OCD

    involves a preoccupation with the potential of having some physical

    malady, typically cancer or some life threatening disease. This condition in

    referred to as hypocondriasis (Weinberg).

    Those with OCD can have either obsessions or compulsions or both.

    About twenty percent have wither obsessions or compulsions. The other

    eighty percent have both. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts that are

    recurrent and persistent impulses, or images that cause extreme anxiety or

    distress. They are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems.

    Of course, we all have comforting little rituals. Obsessions may start as

    early as ages 3 or 4 and the conditions are more common in boys than in

    girls until mid-adolescence. True obsessions are far, more common in

    children than ever imagined in the past: at least half of adults with OCD

    report onset of symptoms during childhood, and many more during

    adolescence. Obsession is a term that is misunderstood very often. An

    example of this would be that, “my brother is obsessed with his new shoes.”

    Obsessions intrude into consciousness despite efforts to avoid these

    thoughts. Some typical obsessions include:

    *fear of something wrong with one’s body

    *Fear one has not done something “just right”

    *excessive concern about germs, contamination, or “dirty substances”

    *fear of things not being lined up “right” or turned off

    While these are some of the more common obsessions, there are many

    more, and it is not uncommon to discover clients who are having a variety

    of different obsessions which gravely interfere with their ability to

    concentrate on anything else (Schwartz).

    Compulsions are behaviors employed, over and over to try to get rid

    of the obsessive thoughts by some ritual, repetitive action. These are often

    carried to considerable extremes. Children with OCD do not announce they

    have obsessions or compulsions; rather, they throw “tizzy fits.” Adults with

    OCD may have difficulty getting to work on time due to having to return

    home to check the phone cord alignment. Some typical obsessions include:

    *Excessive washing of hands or other body parts

    *inseistnece on unusual attention to details of hair, clothing,

    *checking, re-checking, going back to check again, then again

    These are some of the common compulsions. Excessive washing is a

    compulsion that attempts to ward off the fear of contamination. Checking

    and re-checking is a compulsion that OCD sufferers develop to try to put to

    rest their anxiety something is not turned off, lined up right, straight, or that

    they might have done something wrong, hurt someone, etc. (Weinberg).

    Social workers, counselors, physchologist have said that there is not a

    determined cause for OCD. There are many different reasons for having

    OCD. IT could be linked as a genetic disorder. This is also called

    “neurological misfiring,” a sort of hiccup, in the caudate nucleus buried

    deep within the basal ganglia, the primitive brain that serves as a sort of

    relay station between oursenses, motor functions I the cortex. OCD may

    also involve elevated levels of activity in the frontal lobes and parts of the

    basal ganglia. This increased activity may account for the repetitive

    obsessions ore merely reflect them; the frontal lobes are involved in

    planning and thinking, an important component of obsessive compulsive

    People with OCD are so well aware that their ideas and behaviors are

    so odd, they often go to considerable lengths to conceal these symptoms.

    Almost all adolescence and adults with OCD are teribly afraid of being

    labeled “crazy,” and this is the case since their self-perception of the

    thoughts and behaviors linked with OCD seem so very bizarre to them.

    Even relatively young children are often secretive about their obsessions,

    and as they grow older try to conceal their compulsions from their family,

    friends, and fellow school children.

    There are two specific tactics clinicians should consider using to help

    clients be more comfortable in revealing these symptoms:

    1) use of an OCD-specific initial evaluation/intake questionnaire.

    2) “a casual, relaxed form of communication in which the clinician

    mentions how new research has discovered many features

    about the biological basis for OCD, and how many people are

    now begin helped over obsessions and compulsions by use of

    newer medication and/or behavioral treatment” (Schwartz).

    No expert in this field has yet to fully understand why perfectly nice,

    harmless and socially well-adjusted people develop such horrifying

    obsessions. They do know the content is completely disconnected from

    experience and conscious, routine behavior, it is in effect a wild and crazy

    bit of the “id,” the most basic element of the personality; it is the source of

    the instincts and operates on the pleasure principle, popping into conflict

    with the “ego,” the element of the mind that operates according to the reality

    principle and serves to satisfy the id and the superego (Science News).

    However, people with OCD bear no personal responsibility for the content

    of these obsessions, and digging into them deeply and drawing conclusions

    about them is a tactic that scares countless OCD clients away from any

    willingness to participate in further treatment of any kind (Forde).

    Works Cited

    “Article on Scrupulosity.” Margo, Writing on Scrupulosity 1:1.

    Forde, David R., Ph.D. “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in the
    Community: An epidemiological Survey with Clinical Reappraisal.” Am J.

    Psychiatry 8 Aug. 1997: 154:8

    “Science News.” Gene may Further Obsessions, Compulsions. 3 May
    1997: 151.

    Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive
    Compulsive Behavior. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

    Weinberg, George. Compulsions and the Fear that drives them: Invincible
    Masters. New York: Grove Press, 1993.


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