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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

1627 words - 7 pages

The mental health disorder I have chosen for analysis is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). First, I will discuss symptoms and diagnostic criteria that is in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Then I will cover treatment OCD as it relates to the strengths perspective and the medical model of mental health. Finally, I will discuss the ethical responsibilities that Social Workers have towards clients in the mental health field.
Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria
OCD often starts in adolescence or early adult hood (DSM, 2000). It is in the Axis I category of the DSM. It often starts from some experience in the client life. These experiences could be because of trauma, abuse, or other important life transitions. For most people OCD, gradually develops over time, and it can be many years before fully blown OCD is developed. The cause of OCD is unknown, but “family and twin studies show it has a strong heritable component and is likely genetically linked to Tourette’s disorder” (Andreason & Black, p.190).
Two very important aspects of OCD are obsession and compulsion. Clients will develop obsession which can be defined by the DSM as “recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some point during the disturbance as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress” (p.462). Compulsion is “repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels they should perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly” (DSM, 2000, p. 462).
These obsessive thoughts are more then just worrying about everyday life. These obsessions create a lot of anxiety and stress in the client’s life. A client can have obsessions or compulsions, but commonly those who have obsessions also develop compulsions. They search for something to distract themselves, and push the obsessions to the side because they start to cause so much distress and anxiety.
The number one distraction for obsession is ritualistic compulsive behavior. These compulsive behaviors are things such as washing, counting, tapping etc. Every time the client has the obsessive thought, they will substitute it with the compulsive behavior. The urge to enact the behavior is so strong that the client will do it in order to keep the obsessive thoughts away. The more the compulsion is completed the more it will become ingrained in the client’s mind, and the harder the compulsion will be to break.
Other then obsession and compulsion there are four more criteria according to the DSM (2000) that must be met in order to have an OCD diagnosis. First the client should recognize that the obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable irrational responses. Second, the obsessions and compulsions interfere with the client’s normal routine. The DSM states that the compulsions usually take more than an hour everyday to complete and carry out. Third, the client’s obsessions and...

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