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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Essay title: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is one of the anxiety disorders. It is a strong disabling condition that can persists throughout a person’s life. People who suffer from this mental illness have continuing upsetting thoughts and use rituals to control the anxiety of these thoughts. In most cases, the rituals end up controlling them so the individual becomes trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are senseless. The patient finds the rituals addictive and distressing and therefore it is hard to quit. OCD can vary from mild to severe. If the case is severe and it is left untreated, it can destroy a person’s capacity to function at work, school and even at home.

For many years, mental health professionals thought of OCD as a rare disease because only a small minority of their patients had the conditions, but it was not true. This disorder was and still is often unrecognized because many of those afflicted with OCD try to keep their repetitive thoughts and behaviors secret, therefore most of them fail to seek treatment. This led to the underestimation of the number of people with the illness. However, a survey conducted in the early 1980s by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provided new knowledge of OCD. The NIMH survey showed that OCD affects more than 2 percent of the population, meaning that OCD is more common than severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or panic disorder. OCD appear in people of all ethnic groups and affects males and females are equally.

Although most OCD symptoms begin during the teenage years or early adulthood, recent research shows that some children develop the illness at earlier ages, some even before entering school. Studies indicate that at least one-third of cases of OCD in adults began in childhood. Suffering from OCD during early stages of a child's development can cause severe problems for the child. It is important that the child receive treatment by professionals to prevent the child from missing important opportunities in life because of this disorder.

People with OCD suffer from many obsessions. These are based on unwanted ideas or impulses that repeatedly end up in the mind of the person with OCD. Some common cases are: persistent fears that harm may come to self or love one, an unreasonable concern with becoming contaminated or excessive need to do things perfectly. These thoughts are intrusive, unpleasant, and produce a high degree of anxiety. Sometimes the obsessions are of violent or sexual nature, or concern illness.

In response to their obsessions, most people with OCD use repetitive behaviors called compulsions to try to calm themselves. The most common of these are washing and checking. Other compulsive behaviors are counting (while performing another compulsive action), repeating, hoarding, and endlessly rearranging objects to keep them in precise alignment with each other. The rituals they have may be simple or complex. Performing rituals may give the person with OCD some relief from anxiety, but it is only temporary.

Obsessions and compulsions are like cause and effect. That is why it is called obsessive-compulsive disorder, after obsessions and compulsions. For instance, if the patient is obsessed with being clean, the person would develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If people develop an obsession with intruders, those people might develop an obsession of locking their doors many times. Other common rituals are the need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence) or count things. Some obsessions include having frequent thoughts of violence of having thoughts that are prohibited by religious beliefs. Again and again, the individual experiences a disturbing thought, such as, "I may have left the gas on" or "I am going to injure my child.” These are all common situations.

People with OCD do become aware of the senselessness of their rituals. 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, creating their own explanations of what is really happening.

Most people with OCD struggle to suppress the obsessive thoughts and to prevent their compulsive behaviors. Many are able to control themselves when they are at work or attending school. But while time passes, resistance may weaken, and when this happens, OCD becomes so severe that the rituals not only are time consuming but begin to take over the sufferer’s lives, making it impossible for them to proceed in activities outside the home.

OCD sufferers often try to hide their disorder rather than seek help. Often they succeed in concealing their obsessive-compulsive

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