Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is considered an anxiety disorder. “Anxiety disorders make their sufferers feel disproportionately anxious or fearful.” McGrath (2007) With OCD people experience obsessive thoughts, images or impulses repeatedly ranging from annoying to extremely distressing. They then respond to those thoughts with repetitive compulsive behaviors or thoughts. New studies have shown that around 6-9 million Americans alone suffer from OCD. The research I have done on the subject seems to point to cognitive behavioral therapy as the most effective treatment for patients suffering from the disorder.
There are some differing ides to as what causes OCD and whether those causes are chemical or biological. Carmin (2009) OCD prevents it’s sufferers from living their lives as they would like to sometimes affecting friendships, marriages and their self-confidence. Thankfully, OCD is a treatable disease and with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy, most sufferers can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their lives.
People who suffer from OCD give their random thoughts more credibility and imagine that the things that they fear will come true. OCD sufferers often realize that their thoughts are not logical but they are engulfed by them. McGrath (2007). People with OCD suffer from obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts or images that appear in a person’s mind that cause them severe anxiety or distress. Compulsions on the other hand are a ritual a person performs to try to get rid of or counteract their obsessive thoughts. Compulsive rituals will relieve some of the anxiety but only temporarily then the obsessions return and unfortunately, compulsions only end up reinforcing the symptoms. There are several common obsessions and compulsions that people experience. The fear of contamination is one of the biggest obsessions. Suffers often fear becoming contaminated and contracting diseases such as AIDS.
There are several different theories as to the exact cause of OCD but from what we do know it has both biological and environmental factors. One theory is that it is caused by a chemical imbalance where neurotransmitters are not relaying information correctly. Another thought is that it is genetic in origin. “Researchers have discovered possible genetic markers for OCD on chromosomes 1,3,7,6 and 15” McGrath (2007). There is also new research using PET and FMRI scans for neuroimaging. Research has found that scans of people with OCD symptoms show “hyperactivity in the Orbito-frontal-subcortical circuit.” Podea, Suciu, Suciu and Ardelean (2009) Even with those that seem to have a genetic predisposition for OCD there seems to be some form of environmental trigger that causes it to manifest.
There is no cure for OCD, but CBT is the best way to permanently reduce OCD symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown in scientific studies that it can actually change the...