Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Essay

1861 words - 8 pages

Did you ever get out of bed to check on something that you think you did, but you check anyway just to make sure…..maybe it’s making sure the door is locked or turning out the kitchen light. We all do that at times. However, those who are afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder exhibit these types of behaviors repeatedly to the extent that it causes distress and makes living daily life difficult. This disorder affects about 2.2 million American adults (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml) This paper will explore the disorder and answer the following questions: 1. What is OCD? 2. What causes the disorder? 3. How is this disorder ...view middle of the document...

Because of their obsessions, they exhibit certain compulsive behaviors like constant hand washing, excessive bathing, repeated checking, repeated behaviors sometimes in multiples (example: doing a task three times because three is a “lucky” number), mental compulsions such as mental review of events to prevent harm or counting while performing a task to end on a good number, repeatedly putting things in order or arranging things, repeatedly asking for reassurance and hoarding. (Medical News Today)

A person’s level of OCD can range from mild to severe and can destroy their ability to function even in their own homes. It strikes men and women in equal number and often appears in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. It is often accompanied by other disorders such as depression and eating disorders.

There are several types of theories as to the cause of OCD The biological theory in based on the thinking that this disorder may be caused by changes in the bodies’ chemistry and or brain functions. Through brain imaging techniques, some specific areas of the brain have been seen to have unusual activity in sufferers of OCD. These include the oritofrontal cortex, anterior cingulated cortex, striatum, thalamus, anterior cingulated gyrus, caudate nucleus and basal ganglia.

It is thought that there may be a genetic component. Particular genes that may play a role in the development of the condition include hSERT and SLC1A1. hSERT is the human serotonin transporter gene. The job of the transporter is to soak up surplus of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, after a nerve splits it toward the next nerve cell in line. hSERT is incluned to work too fast in some sufferers of OCD and may collect all the serotonin before the next nerve has heard the signal. One study funded by the National Institutes of Health examined DNA, and the results suggest that OCD and certain related psycniatric disorders may be associated with an uncommon double mutation of the hSERT. SLC1A1 is another gene that might be involved in OCD. This gene is similar to hSERT but has the job of soaking up a different neurotransmitter, glutamate.

The behavioral theory is that a person’s obsessions and compulsions have been learned over a period of time. This theory suggests that people with OCD associate certain objects or situations with fear and learn to avoid those things that trigger fear or to perform rituals in order to help reduce the fear. Once a connection between and object and the feeling of fear becomes established, people with OCD begin to avoid that object and the feat it generates, rather than confronting or tolerating the fear.

Another theory is the Cognitive Theory. This theory focuses on how people with OCD misinterpret their thoughts. Most people have unwelcome or intrusive thoughts but for those with OCD, the importance of those thoughts is exaggerated. For example, a person who is under pressure and stress nurturing an infant may have an...

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