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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Essay title: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Studies show that twenty two percent of Americans over the age of eighteen suffer from a mental illness. There are a numerous amount of mental illnesses that are discovered all over the world; one of these illnesses is obsessive-compulsive disorder. About every one in eighty two people have obsessive-compulsive disorder. The interesting thing about OCD is that many people that have it are very aware of their actions but they don’t think that it is out of the ordinary. OCD is extremely common like asthma or diabetes, and the people who have can live a normal life. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder, that it is characterized by repeated unwanted thoughts or obsessions and repetitive behaviors“ (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder); in which victims feel that they cannot control. Along with these characteristics there are usually rituals that run jointly with OCD. Rituals such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are some of the most common. Performing these rituals is the person’s way to try and cope with the anxiety; but they usually only offer temporary relief, and when these tasks are not performed it usually increases anxiety (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Although the sufferers of OCD know that their anxiety is senseless and embarrassing their obsessions are always popping up without warning. Dr. John March and Christine Benton have a way of describing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in a different way:

“OCD is much like the hiccups, it may not seem that bad at first; but as time goes on, they get harder and harder to live with. If you had them and they refused to go away, you naturally would have to fit in breathing, speaking, eating and every other function between hiccups” (March and Benton 10)

The unpleasant reality of having OCD is that it has a deteriorating effect; over time it becomes worse and worse until it can fundamentally destroy your life (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is believed to be caused by “abnormal functioning of the brain circuitry, probably involving a part of the brain called the striatum.” Many people usually think, “OCD is caused by family problems or attitudes learned in childhood,” but this has been proven false; an example of this would be an emphasis on cleanliness in the home, you cannot develop OCD in that way. Scientists have actually done brain-imaging research called Positron emission tomography (PET), which showed that sufferers of OCD brains differ from those that don’t have the disease (Grayson 14-16). Although there is no clear genetic proof, OCD tends to run in families. A person with OCD has a twenty five percent chance of having a blood relative that has the same dysfunction. Much like many other mental diseases, OCD is more predominant in identical twins; if one twin has OCD there is a seventy five percent chance that the other will also have it (Risk Factors and Causes of OCD).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has a various amount of treatments; there is no real cure for OCD no matter what people try. One treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT; this “is a combination of cognitive therapy and behavior therapy.” In behavior therapy people are shown how to change their thoughts and feelings that are causing them trouble by first changing their behavior. Many types of behavior therapy have been proven effective for different problems. Cognitive therapy focuses on what people are thinking, which in turn helps them challenge unhelpful thoughts that are making them feel bad and behave in ways that aren’t serving them well. This is basically used for kids with OCD, because it helps them replace inaccurate beliefs about life and OCD. (March and Benton 61-62) Another treatment for OCD is exposure and response prevention, which basically focuses on anxiety and the actual fear; the person is purposely exposed to the trigger that makes them anxious; the trick here is to teach the person to avoid performing the compulsive rituals that helps them to deal with their anxiety (62-63). The last treatment for OCD is medication; “there have been several that are proven effective in helping people with OCD such as clomipramine, fluoxetine, and sertraline.” These are basically anti-depressants that cause drowsiness for you to calm down and decrease anxiousness. These medications are proved to be most effective when used along with behavioral and cognitive therapy (66-67).

Sufferers of OCD have a very challenging life; their anxiety can control their entire existence. There are a numerous amount of common fears sufferers of OCD may have, the most common are:

“Fear of harming oneself or others, forgetting or loosing things, fear of misunderstanding, fear of anxiety or other uncomfortable feelings resulting from the obsession, fear

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