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Ocd Essay Research Paper Obsessivecompulsive DisorderA disorder

Ocd Essay, Research Paper

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

A disorder that brings on unwanted thoughts (obsession) and conscious, ritualized acts

(compulsions), usually in attempt to deal with anxiety which is coming from the


Performing these rituals only brings them temporary relief; if they do not perform them,

it brings on increased anxiety. Both ways will leave them stuck in a difficult situation. If

people go untreated, the illness begins to take over their lives. Treatments have been

developed to help anyone with this. Years ago it was thought that people with OCD had

this due to family problems or from attitudes learned early in a child s life. An example

of this is when a parent would repeatedly emphasize cleanliness. Making the child almost

paranoid. But now there is evidence in PET scans that people with OCD have patterns of

brain activity that is different from other mental illnesses or people that do not have

mental illnesses. There is growing evidence that OCD has a neurobiological basis. The

parts that seem to be affected are the thalamus on the right side and the caudate nucleus.

Scientists used PET scans at the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) to

determine whether improvement in OCD, with behavior therapy, significantly changes

glucose s metabolic rates in the caudate nucleus. The results ended in a decrease in

caudate glucose metabolic rates. Before any treatment there were noticeable correlation

of brain activity between parts of the brain. After treatment, the correlation decreased

significantly. PET scans have shown that patients with OCD, who do behavioral therapy

and medication, show changes in the caudate nucleus. Showing that psychotherapy and

medication is very important in recovery. OCD seems to last for years, or even decades.

Sometimes symptoms become worst than other times. There may be times when

symptoms are very mild, but for most individuals with OCD, the disorder is chronic.

A college freshman has stopped showering and dressing normally because the process

takes several hours a day. He hisses and coughs when he eats and repeatedly wipes his

feet and looks backward when he walks. He stays in his room most of the time, eating

only a few carefully selected foods and constantly checking to see that furniture and

wastebaskets are in the right places. (Harvard Mental Health Letter, Oct. 1998, p1-4)

This is what some people have to go through just to get through a normal morning for

them. This case is extreme, but some people are not as bad. OCD affects between two

and four percent of the population. Until the mid 1980 s people had to hide their disorder,

even though it has been around and known by some since Freud s time. In the 1980 s the

Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (OCF) of Milford, Conn., wrote to ABC s television

20-20 news show about the disorder and how it is not as rare as thought to be. Then,

around 1989, people realized their disorder is okay and started calling into clinics. That is

when it became public. Until recently, most people with OCD did not go to mental health

professionals. They would go to family, doctors or religious counselors. Some thought of

their disorder as shameful. They did not want people to know what they do. Sometimes

depression would be hidden underneath it all. Other psychiatric disorders body

dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania and Tourette s syndrome are also thought to be

part of an obsessive-compulsive spectrum, because they can use the same treatment as

OCD or have a similar biological basis. According to the Epidemiologic Catchment

Area (ECA) survey, 2.5% of Americans have had the symptoms at some time in their

lives. Most of the people affected by OCD are males, about two-thirds. And around one-

third of adults cases of OCD start when they are children. Features associated with OCD

are: depressed mood, somatic/sexual dysfunction, guilt/obsession, addiction,

anxious/fearful/dependent personality.

As you should know by now the key features are, obsessions-unwanted ideas or impulses

that cannot leave the mind of the person with OCD-and compulsions-repetitive

behaviors-such as hand washing and checking. These people with OCD try to get rid of

these thoughts and stop them from engaging in compulsive behavior. Even when they

resist in public, they will get worse over the years, until they are taken over by their

rituals. There was an old belief that OCD was the result of life experiences. Now we

have knowledge that biological factors are the main contributor. It also has a

neurobiological basis since some people tend to respond well to specfic medications that

affected the neurotransmitter serotonin. In brain-imaging studies (by the NIMH) of OCD

showed abnormal neurochemical activity in the areas that are known to play a role in

neurological disorders, which help to find where OCD lies. They also found studies that

showed less white matter in OCD patients than normal control subjects, which shows the

abnormality. Some theories focused on the interaction between behavior, and also on

beliefs and attitudes, and how information is processed. All of which are cognitive


Could you have OCD? As I looked into this disorder I found a lot of information on

helping people that have OCD. They had tests and questions you could answer to find

out. Sometimes people are called compulsive but that should not confuse anyone.

These are just perfectionist and are very organized, as well. This serves a purpose, maybe

for self-esteem. If you have OCD, you are dealing with life-wrecking obsessions and

rituals. Noticeably different. But there are treatments. The NIHM has provide information

for treatments. Both pharmacological and behavioral help. Patients differ from time to

time; one may benefit more from behavioral than another patient. That is why both are

done. All of this is decided when the patient talks with the therapist. For help you need to

seek a mental health professional. Some family physicians, clinics and health

maintenance organizations can provide treatments and find a health professional for you.

If you go to a university they may have a specialist who is knowledgeable enough about

treatments. Or major medical centers have departments with psychiatric help. The family

can also help out. Families can have a hard time accepting this, but they know they need

to find help. If they get angry or upset it may increase the OCD behavior. Or they might

be extra nice and careful with them. Self-help books give lots of good information on the

disorder, as well. You can also find family therapist that can help everyone affected by

this disorder at once. Encouraging the family member with OCD to take their medicine is

a very good idea. Educational support groups have been made throughout the years, too.

People with OCD are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).