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Devastating Effects Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder On Individuals

2098 words - 9 pages

Picture this: You wake up in the morning, and are a bit groggy. After you hit the snooze button for the second time, you know getting up is necessary, or you will be late for school. After getting out of bed and taking a shower, now fully awake, worry begins to plague you. Is the shower turned all the way off? You go back to the bathroom to check, and the shower is indeed turned off. However, quickly the relief fades. What if the faucet is leaking? What if the water is not really turned off at all, and you were just unobservant? Even if checking again makes you late for school, it is necessary. It is better to check again than to leave the shower running all day, because then the ...view middle of the document...

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, and sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel drive to do something (compulsions)” (Goodman np). OCD affects approximately two to three percent of the world’s population (Parks 7). OCD is a cycle. The person is obsessed with a danger or risk; they compulsively act upon this obsession until they feel a temporary relief. Later, the relief will fade and the cycle will repeat. The symptoms have a waxing and waning cycle. Symptoms will lessen in their severity for months or even years before regaining previous strength. Only five to ten percent of afflicted people experience permanent remission (Goodman np).
When testing for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, doctors run a series of psychological tests. A physical exam will not show evidence of OCD. To be officially diagnosed patients must meet these criteria listed in the American Psychology Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: the obsession and compulsions must be uncontrollable, the patient must understand the symptoms are unreasonable, and that the obsessions and compulsions interrupt the patient’s daily routine (Parks 18).
Many people may confuse OCD with other phases, particularly in a child’s life. Children may have certain rituals they follow when developing. However, these rituals are merely phases, and the average child will discontinue the ritual as he or she ages (Hyman, Dedrich 33). A distinction may also be made in the attitude of the person in question. While substance abusers and gamblers have control issues, they are not considered OCD because their condition is pleasurable (34). Eating disorders have been found to be linked with OCD, but the disorder is not always directly related, but it is investigated when the patient visits the doctor. Fixing these common misconceptions about OCD may help identify the disorder quicker, causing pain and suffering to lessen (35).
When most people are diagnosed with OCD, they wonder if the disorder could have been prevented. However, OCD is a genetic disease. Those with a family history of OCD have a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with the disorder. The brain anatomy of those with OCD is different than the anatomy of those not afflicted. In the brains of patients, the levels of the chemical serotonin, which carries messages from the frontal lobe to the inner part of the brain, are much lower than the levels in the average person’s brain (Parks 47). The circuit in which the messenger travels will reach the cerebral cortex, which is located in the inner brain. The cerebral cortex reads the message and decides the significance of the though or sensation. The message is then passed to the basal ganglia which controls body movement. When the levels of serotonin are low, this can cause the message to be incorrect, resulting in emphasis being put on...

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