Obsessive compulsive disorder

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

Kenneth C. Scott

Salt Lake Community College


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a condition in which a person to has reoccurring thoughts, continual impulses or obsessions to repeat certain acts or compulsions in order to satisfy his anxiety of an obsession, (Taylor, 2009). “Although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is accepted as an illness with biological roots, it can't be diagnosed using a blood sample, X-ray or other medical test,”(Kelly, 2010). Because the direct cause of OCD is not pin pointed it is hard to know exactly what brings this disorder. There have been correlations found in families where Anxiety is present. “Estimates of the prevalence of OCD vary but it may affect up to 2–3% of the world population. There is a bimodal distribution with a peak of patients presenting in early adolescence and another in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Males and females are equally affected; however, males tend to present earlier than females,”(Taylor, 2009).


People diagnosed with this disorder often know of their own strange obsessions but have a hard time overcoming their needful feelings causing them to feel more anxiety and frustration (Taylor, 2009) Some of the common obsessions can include a need for tidiness, the obsession to things of religious nature, aggression, and obsession to things that bring sexual drive. Although acting out in these manners is not always agreeable, it does often help bring down the levels of anxiety someone might be feeling. Some of the common compulsions include checking and rechecking things, counting, washing hands repeatedly, and cleaning things. Some cases may also include storing unnecessary objects. These behaviors are always used in excessiveness but depending on the person the amount can very. One example is of this could be a phobia of contamination that may result in some one taking 15 minutes to wash their hands. A different person with that same fear might spend up to an hour trying to clean his hands even if it results in scrubbing their hands so hard it makes them start bleeding, (Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner, 2011). Eventually a series of obsessions and compulsions begin. Each obsession causes a greater level anxiety which cannot be eased until the person acts out in a type of compulsion. This constant cause and effect series brings people to form these strange habits that are difficult to control. When there is a change in the normal routine of their life it can cause severe feelings of uneasiness, (Taylor, 2009). Because it is common for patients to be conscious of their strange habits, they often go to great measure to try and hide these actions, hoping that in doing so it will help them escape the shame they feel.


There are positive results found in people that attend psychotherapy. “Attempts to cope with the obsessive thoughts by trying to suppress or ignore them are of little or no benefit. In fact thought suppression can backfire, increasing the intensity of the obsessive thoughts,” (Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner, 2011). Some of the best therapy that can happen is helping the patient to be able to understand clearly and simply the obsessions that he or she is having and then the compulsive actions they may be taking to try and fix those obsessions. As they are better able to understand what is going on inside them, they are less likely to become anxious during future instances, (Taylor, 2009). Another mode of therapy that has been known to help ease anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When a patient is put in a repeated situation where they typically feel anxiety, they learn to build up a tolerance for it resulting in the patient being better able to control his natural compulsions, (Treatments for OCD, 2012).


Taylor C., (2009), Obsessive compulsive disorder,


Schacter D. L., Gilbert D. T., Wegner D. M., (2011), Introducing Psychology, p.375

Kelly O., (2010), Diagnosis of OCD,


Author unknown, (2012), Treatments for OCD,


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