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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,

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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.


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.


Cite this Definition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Definition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (2018, Jul 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/definition-of-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/

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