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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Essay Research Paper Obsessivecompulsive

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Essay, Research Paper

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an illness that traps people in endless

cycles of repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). Although

we all have habits and routines that help us organize our daily lives, people

with OCD develop patterns of behavior that take up too much time and interfere

with their daily lives. Obsessions are unwanted and intrusive ideas, images and

impulses that run through the person’s mind over and over again. Sometimes these

thoughts come only once in a while and are only mildly annoying, but at other

times the thoughts come constantly and cause great distress. A compulsion is a

behavior that is performed on purpose in response to an obsession. People

perform these compulsive behaviors according to "rules" they make up

themselves to try to control the nervous feelings that come along with the

obsessive thoughts. Sometimes compulsive behaviors are called rituals. For

example, a person may have a profound fear of germs and spend hours washing his

or her hands after using a public toilet. Rituals like this do make the nervous

feelings go away, but usually only for a short while. Then fear and discomfort

return, and the person repeats the routine all over again. Most people with OCD

know that their obsessions and compulsions are ridiculous and make no sense, but

they can’t ignore them. Most people with OCD experience common obsessions such

as: fear of dirt, germs, or contamination, fear of harming a family member or

friend, concern with order, symmetry (balance) and exactness, worry that a task

has been done poorly, even when the person knows this is not true. Also fear of

thinking evil or sinful thoughts, and A constant need for reassurance are common

obsessions. What Causes OCD? OCD may be connected with an imbalance in a brain

chemical called serotonin. Serotonin serves as a "bridge" in sending

nerve impulses from one nerve cell to the next, and in regulating repetitive

behaviors. The great improvement that people have when they take certain

medicines makes this idea more believable. How can OCD be treated? Behavioral

therapy can be used to lessen unwanted compulsions. First, people are exposed to

the situations that produce obsessions and anxiety, and then they are encouraged

to resist performing the rituals that usually help control the anxiety. Over

time and with practice, OCD symptoms gradually go away. The person with OCD must

really want to use this method, though, to be able to tolerate the high levels

of anxiety that result. Finally, family therapy is a way to educate the

relatives of a person with OCD about their part in the recovery process, and how

to deal with their own feelings of frustration and unhappiness.