Running Head: OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Danny Fritz Jasper High School Psychology 2006



Obsessive-compulsive is an anxiety disorder where the person feels compelled to do a seemingly random task in order to proceed with what they are doing. “obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, an anxiety disorder marked by persistent, unwanted thoughts that intrude upon the mind, and compulsive behaviorsunneeded actions that one feels must be done over and over again in certain rigid and consistent ways.” (2002). The researcher will review the current, relevant anxiety




disorder from both a clinical and a social/familial perspective. There are six main types of obsessive-compulsive disorder commonly seen: checkers, cleaners, orderers, pure obsessionals, hoarders, scrupulosity. “Checkers have irrational fears of catastrophes befalling themselves or others as a result of things they do or do not do. They may have compulsions to



repeatedly check such things as doors, locks, and household appliances to ward off potential disasters.” (2002). This type of person will constantly check something repetitively. If they believe having a door

open will help a fire grow in case of a flame, they will always make sure all doors are shut every moment of their presence. The list of possible things a person

could be a checker of is endless; they could be constantly checking someone’s feelings. “Washers and Cleaners have fears and worries about contamination by dirt, germs, or foreign

substances. They ease their obsessive fears by washing their hands, showering, or cleaning their environment.” (2002). These are the people you see constantly putting on lotion or antibacterial on their hands all of the time. Germs and bacteria, things that cannot be seen with the naked eye, will scare these types of people into obsessions.



An orderer is a person who feels they need to arrange specific items in the same positions. Arranging books and keeping neat handwriting are some things they obsess over. Sufferers will not proceed with

another task until the objects they put in order are in their certain order. and books by name. “Pure Obsessionals are troubled by unwanted, intrusive, horrific thoughts and images of causing danger or harm to others.” (2002). Some thoughts are of domestic violence among their family and Clothing will be arranged by color

embarrassing sexual acts.

These thoughts often build

up anxiety in the victim and they have trouble relieving it. Engaging in other obsessive acts, such as counting or constantly praying, helps ease the anxiety, but can only ease the thoughts for so long. The thoughts come in patterns of cycles and take up a larger and larger amount of time until it takes up the whole day. “the











thoughts.” (2002). Hoarders are the people who collect seemingly random objects and think there is some significance in them. If you asked one of them why they have the

objects they have collected, they will often not have an answer. Connections to the items will often be felt

without actual sentimental thoughts behind them. The obsession over being accepted by a religion is scrupulosity. Constant compulsive praying or religious

service to seek constant assurance about their beliefs or morality disorder. “The essential features of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are severe enough to be time consuming (i.e., they take more than one hour a day) or cause marked distress or significant impairment. At some point during the course marks this type of obsessive-compulsive



of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or

unreasonable.” (2000). An obsession or compulsion that is considered severe enough to qualify might take up more than an hour a day, cause distress to complete, or interfere with how you function. It is not considered

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder if the obsession or compulsion is not interfering with everyday life. The

signals of obsession-compulsive disorder can include repeated hand washing, specific methods of counting, organizing, cancelling out bad thoughts, fear of

contamination, and a need for symmetry. There are many causes of obsession-compulsive disorder and can’t be helped. It can be treated though. “OCD can be treated with Behavioral therapy (BT), Cognitive therapy (CT), medications, or any combination of the three. cases, while Psychotherapy can also help in some not one of the leading treatments.



According to the Expert Consensus Guidelines for the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder…. The treatment of choice for most OCD is behavior therapy or cognitive behavior therapy.” (2006). “OCD is found in 3 percent of the population and is more common among women than men.” (2002). The type of behavioral treatment used is called exposure and ritual prevention. The process has the

idea that if you slowly expose them to the thing they avoid or do, the victims will gradually start to accept it as ok to not check the locks or to touch the door knob. It can start as small as poking them with a toothpick and progressing to touching them with a more contaminated object such as a phone. Group therapy is a big treatment of obsessivecompulsive disorder. Like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a group of similar people with similar problems talk to each other. They discuss with each other individual



problems and offer personal advice from their own experiences to help sufferers cope and overcome the sickness. “Pharmacologic treatments include selective

serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine (Paxil, Aropax), sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), and fluvoxamine (Luvox) as well as the tricyclic

antidepressants, in particular clomipramine (Anafranil).” (2006). Most of the medications used in treatment of

obsessive-compulsive disorder prevent serotonin from returning to the original neurons and instead attach to the nearby receptor sites and reduce anxiety and, therefore, reduce anxiety induced obsessive-compulsive thoughts. “SSRIs seem to be the most effective drug

treatments for OCD, and help about 60% of OCD patients, but do not ‘cure’ OCD” (2006). Studies have shown that undernourishment can also lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder in some



cases. Eating a healthy diet and keeping in shape can help reduce rituals developed. Without treatment sufferers may find it very hard to function in normal life. Frequent unwanted thoughts can lead people to live in isolation in fear they might do something they don’t want to. Spending all day on a

ritual to lock the door a certain number of times and taking long showers to stay clean will make time to socialize much smaller. People with obsessive-

compulsive disorder often blame themselves and feel guilty for everything they do towards others. Afraid to cough too near them, to accidentally hit them, or even hurt their feelings are some things commonly feared by sufferers. When children develop this chronic illness, the parents will often times blame themselves for it. “Often, parents feel guilty, thinking the OCD is somehow their fault.” (2003). In order to efficiently treat the disorder



and diagnose it, everyone has to realize it is nobody’s fault first. severity of The family often times contributes to the the obsessive-compulsive disease by

performing the victim’s obsession out themselves to appease the person. This doesn’t help and often helps continue the person’s problem. Most people with the illness do not realize they need to get checked for it. “They’ve labeled themselves as weird or strange.” (2003). Though it is most

commonly not life threatening to have, most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder need to get it treated to help them function in today’s society. “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder tends to be

slightly more common in females than in males.” (2006). The media is to blame for this because of the constant pressure for women to be perfect and meet social standards. From very young ages children are

taught by either role model or by media that guys are



party animals and girls are perfect. Men do not have to worry about how they look or what kind of clothing they are wearing, yet girls have to wear perfect matching clothing and look their best every moment of their life. Their obsession with looking good might translate over to keeping their room perfectly neat. And then they

would develop a ritual or uneasiness if the room is disturbed. Another obsession the media could contribute to is paranoia. Constant coverage on crimes and murders And these fears will

will cause people to be afraid.

cause people to lock doors habitually and develop a habit. People that have heard about someone who lost their thumbs because they crashed when their thumbs were over the steering wheel would generally be afraid to keep their thumbs over the steering wheel too, and create an obsessive-compulsive disorder over the fear of losing their thumbs driving.








disorder appears to be very easy. With the combination of vague detection methods and misunderstanding of the disease, multiple doctors would diagnose the same patient with different results. And besides the types

listed in this paper there are an infinite amount more of possible types. What one doctor might think is People

obsessive might seem logical to another.

keeping doors locked and things organized aren’t illogical, it is the amount that victims do it in is what is too much or too little based on opinion. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an illness not many people understand, but it is very easy to understand. Often times, when people are diagnosed

with the disorder, the best way to overcome it is to understand the disorder itself. If they understand it as a random act of obsession, they can overlook the next



time they are about to commit it realizing how trivial it probably is.



Works Cited Hyman, B. M., & Pedrick, C. (2003). ObsessiveCompulsive Disorder. Brookfield, Connecticut: TwentyFirst Century Books. Karpacz, J. E., Mashburn, M., De Palma, M., Hall, C., et. All (2002). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In Psychology, Fifth Edition (5th ed., p. 409). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. (2006, December 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:37, December 15, 2006, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Obsessivecompulsive_disorder&oldid=93892651 First, Michael B.. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association



Obsessive Compulsive Foundation. Retrieved 14:37, December 19, 2006 from http://www.ocfoundation.org/

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