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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Essay

2806 words - 11 pages

     Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that traps people in endless cycles of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Pierre Janet described obsessive-compulsive disorder by using the term psychasthenia. Sigmund Freud described obsessions and compulsions as psychological defenses used to deal with sexual and aggressive conflicts in the unconscious mind (Bruce Bower: 1987). OCD is also known as “The Doubting Disease,” because it’s as though the mind doesn’t register when the person does a certain action, which triggers the source of the obsession (USA Today:1995). Unlike most people with anxiety disorders, those diagnosed with OCD are more obsessed with what will happen to others instead of themselves (Edna Foa: 1995). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder occurs in a spectrum from mild to severe. At some point the person will see the actions or thoughts as unreasonable and senseless. All people have habits and routines, but what makes obsessive-compulsive people different is the fact that their obsessions and compulsions interfere with their daily lives (American Family Physician: 2000). They spend large amounts of time doing odd rituals. The rituals can take hours a day and make the sufferers miserable and doesn’t allow them for much of a business or social life (Harvard Mental Health Letter). At one OCD clinic, many had lost years of work to their symptoms. Seventy-five percent said the disorder interfered with their family lives and thirteen percent had attempted suicide (Harvard Mental Health Letter: 1998). Phebe Tucker, a psychiatrist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, explained, the most common obsession is washing hands for fear of contamination. Other acts are counting over and over, checking locks, hoarding items such as newspapers or cartons, repeatedly dressing and undressing, and walking in and out of doorways. The thought and behavior patterns are senseless and distressing. They can make it very difficult for a person to function properly at work, school, or even at home. Obsessions take the form of doubts, fears, images, or impulses. (Harvard Mental Health Center: 1998)

Obsessions are unwanted ideas, images, and impulses that run through a person’s mind over and over again. They are intrusive, unpleasant and produce high anxiety. (www.lycos.com: April 2000) Sometimes the obsessions come once and a while and other times the thoughts are constant and cause tremendous distress. (American Family Physician: 2000) The most common obsessions are the fear of getting dirty or infected, fear of getting AIDS, disgust of being infected with bodily wastes or discretions, concern of doing something poorly or incorrectly, the fear of thinking evil or having sinful thoughts, extreme concern with certain sounds, images words or numbers, thoughts of killing or harming someone, or fear of disaster. (USA Today: 1995) The person feels the need to do things correctly and perfectly. Compulsions restore the comfort destroyed...

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