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Research paper topic: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - 1466 words
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- pg. 1 Introduction and Thesis Introduction When I was young, I used to constantly hum one solitary note every few seconds or minutes throughout the day. I also used to glide the tips of my fingers right behind my ear just so I could be assured that my hair was in place. It was almost impossible to avoid. I was continually asked the question, "why do you do that," from my classmates and friends.
It was sometimes embarrassing. Then one day, my "habit" disappeared. Today, my cousin R.J. coughs for no reason every minute. My friend Brian V.
constantly picks his rear end, only when driving, thinking he's playing it off. I'm always told that I pray more than once before eating my meal. My response is, "I did?" There are many people who have odd or common habits. But there are those who are endlessly encircled by rituals and anxious thoughts called obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (or OCD) is characterized by anxious thoughts or rituals you feel you cannot control. If you have OCD, as it is called, you may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals.
You may be obsessed with germs or dirt, so you wash your hands over and over. You may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly. You might be preoccupied by thoughts of violence and fear that you will harm people close to you. You may spend long periods of time touching things or counting. You may be preoccupied by order or symmetry.
You may have persistent thoughts of performing sexual acts that are repugnant to you. Or you may be troubled by thoughts that are against your religious beliefs. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- pg. 2 The disturbing thoughts or images are called obsessions, and the rituals that are performed to try to prevent or dispel them are called compulsions. There is no pleasure in carrying out the rituals you are drawn to, only temporary relief from the discomfort caused by the obsession. Thesis Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety problem in which people are in severe emotional pain or they are unable to function because of obsessions and compulsions.
Richard, a married man with three children has this disorder. In this essay, I will determine the cause of his ordeal and the treatment needed to be utilized based on the numerous information collected from various resources. Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Signs and symptoms frequently associated with obsessive compulsive tendencies or obsessive compulsive disorder can have a variety of symptoms. Symptoms Obsessions These are unwanted ideas or impulses that repeatedly well up in the mind of the person with OCD. Persistent fears that harm may come to self or a loved one, an unreasonable concern with becoming contaminated, or an excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly, are common. Again and again, the individual experiences a disturbing thought, such as, My hands may be contaminated -- I must wash them; I may have left the gas on; or I am going to injure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- pg.
3 my child. These thoughts are intrusive, unpleasant, and produce a high degree of anxiety. Sometimes the obsessions are of a violent or a sexual nature, or concern illness. Compulsions The most common of these are washing and checking. Other compulsive behaviors include counting (often while performing another compulsive action such as hand washing), repeating, hoarding, and endlessly rearranging objects in an effort to keep them in precise alignment with each other. Mental problems, such as mentally repeating phrases, listmaking or checking are also common. These behaviors generally are intended to ward off harm to the person with OCD or others.
Some people with OCD have regimented rituals while others have rituals that are complex and changing. Performing rituals may give the person with OCD some relief from anxiety, but it is only temporary. Insight People with OCD show a range of insight into the senselessness of their obsessions. Often, especially when they are not actually having an obsession, they can recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are unrealistic. At other times they may be unsure about their fears or even believe strongly in their validity. Resistance Most people with OCD struggle to banish their unwanted, obsessive thoughts and to prevent themselves from engaging in compulsive behaviors. Many are able to keep their obsessive-compulsive symptoms under control during the hours when they are at work or attending school.
But over the months or years, resistance may weaken, and when this happens, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- pg. 4 OCD may become so severe that time-consuming rituals take over the sufferers' lives, making it impossible for them to continue activities outside their homes. Shame and Secrecy OCD sufferers often attempt to hide their disorder rather than seek help. Often they are successful in concealing their obsessive-compulsive symptoms from friends and coworkers. An unfortunate consequence of this secrecy is that people with OCD usually do not receive professional help until years after the onset of their disease.
By that time, they may have learned to work their lives -- and family members' lives -- around the rituals. Taking "Forever" To Get Things Done Sometimes because of compulsions, it can take "forever to get things done. It may be necessary to check the back door seven times before leaving the house, to get in and out of the car three times before starting it, to walk backwards in a room, to touch all of the drawer knobs in the bathroom before washing, and so forth. Long-Lasting Symptoms OCD tends to last for years, even decades. The symptoms may become less severe from time to time, and there may be long intervals when the symptoms are mild, but for most individuals with OCD, the symptoms are chronic.
Richard's Story The Anxiety Shortly after awakening on a Tuesday morning about six months ago, Richard, a married man with three children, had the unbidden thought, "today is the day I will die." He felt a chill Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- pg. 5 go through his body, and he tried to counter the frightening idea by thinking, "that's silly. I'm in perfect health. I don't do dangerous work. I'm a careful driver." However, in a short time, the unbidden thought returned.
He was shaving, and he watched his hand tremble as he rinsed his razor in the warm water. "Today is the day I will die." His heart began to pound and he broke out in a cold sweat. Then he voluntarily thought, "Superman, Batman, and Tarzan will protect me." He felt an almost immediate decrease in his anxiety. Three more times that day, he had the unbidden thought that he would die, and each time he controlled his anxiety by invoking the names of the three superheroes. As indicated above, this happened six months ago, and it has repeated itself two to seven times a day since. Sound Reasoning Richard's strange thought is an obsession, a persistent, invasive idea that is perceived to be illogical by either the subject who holds the thought, or an outside observer (Frank J.
Bruno Ph.D. Psychological Symptoms 1994). (This assumes that the subject is willing to discuss the thought with someone else, which is often not the case.) Obsessions are common mental phenomena in both neurotic disorders and in schizophrenia. This essay will focus on the disorder that Richard has which is focus on neurotic process. An additional feature of obsessions in neurotic conditions is that they have a content suggesting the possibility of some danger, loss, or risk.
Consequently, they induce anxiety. Other than Richard's obsession, here are some additional examples. "I'm going to lose all my friends." "I have a wart on my nose that's getting bigger and bigger." "Every man wants to rape me." "I'm ugly." "You can get AIDS from touching contaminated objects such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- pg. 6 doorknobs." Maybe I forgot to lock the door and unplug the iron." " My partner secretly hates me." " An earthquake will destroy my house next week." Rationalization Blanket A compulsion is a ritual; tinged with either an irrational or a magical quality, designed to reduce the anxiety associated with an obsession. In Richard's case, invoking the names of the three favorite superheroes of his late childhood and early adolescence gave him a temporary sense of security.
He recognizes the silliness of both his obsession and his compulsion, but he was powerless to prevent the thought and to resist the compulsion. A compulsion can express itself in the form of either thought or action (Hollander E, Stein DJ: Obsessive Compulsive Disorders 1997). Richard's took the shape of thought. The Course of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) OCD can be relentless. If untreated, OCD is usually chronic and follows a waxi ...
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