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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Psychology Essay

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Updated: Apr 28th, 2020


The victims of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) normally experience both compulsions and obsessions though in some people only one symptom is experienced at a time.

Obsessive Thoughts (OT)

Basically, the often OT encountered in OCD include panics that are linked with germ and dirt infections which bring about serious harms to others. Furthermore, it entails the hostile sensual overt which are intimately correlated to aggressive feelings or imageries.

Obsessive thoughts are also symbolized with excessive focus on moral ideals including being too religious, superstitious and the belief that everything must just be right (Leckman et al., 2001). The other sign relates to the fear of lacking the need in life and consequently losing whatever has been acquired and is in possession.

Compulsive behavior

The common compulsive behavior includes too much attention to personal property to an extent that there is double checking of their safety. It similarly constitutes a continuous and thorough checking of the loved ones to ensure their safety. However, the most notable sign is senseless activities deemed useful in reducing anxiety such as repeating certain words, tapping things and double counting (Eichstedt & Arnold, 2001).

Re-arranging or re-ordering things is a further sign of compulsive behavior. Compulsive behavior is also characterized by excessive praying and engagement in excessive religious activities which seem to accrue due to religious fear. In fact, the victims often portray such behaviors by accumulating junky things such as used empty containers, old newspapers or even plastic bags.



Psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy that aims in helping the victims to manage their problems by changing the way they think and act. Cognitive behavioral therapy encourages the patients to talk about themselves, people and the environment around them while changing their behaviors. This in turn changes their thoughts and feelings about anything which happens to be around them (Myers, 2010). The result is that the victims will feel better about themselves and about life.


Medical treatment for OCD includes the use of antidepressants that majorly consists of the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs generally increase the level of brain serotonin. In medicine, serotonin is perceived to be used by the brain to transmit information from one cell to another (Leckman et al., 2001).

There are diverse kinds of SSRIs that can be prescribed though they have to be taken for a number of weeks before their effects can be seen. The side effects of SSRIs are severe headaches and anxiety which may cause suicidal thoughts or the desire to cause personal harm.

Other treatments

Occasionally, medication and psychotherapy may fail to control the symptoms for OCD. Thus, treatments such as psychiatric hospitalization, residential treatment, electroconvulsive therapy, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation and deep brain stimulation may be used.

Deep brain stimulation is an alternative surgery treatment where an electronic generator is implanted into the patient’s chest while electrodes implanted in the brain. Electric signal is sent from the chest device to the electrodes in the brain. Though the treatment has been proved to be effective in the improvement of the symptoms, it may be accompanied with infections and brain bleeding (Myers, 2010).

The final effective treatment for OCD is support group. Basically, support group is useful in reducing the feelings of isolation, reassurance and provides a chance for socialization (Eichstedt & Arnold, 2001). Often, residents provide information as well as advice on how to handle OCD. However, since all the described treatments for OCD have not been thoroughly tested, it is essential that one fully understands the merits and demerits before any treatment is undertaken so as to avoid any possible health risks.


Eichstedt, J. A. & Arnold, S. L. (2001). Childhood-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder: A tic-related subtype of OCD? Clinical Psychology Review, vol. 21(1), pp.137-157.

Leckman, J. F., Zhang, H, Alsobrook, J. P. & Pauls, D. L. (2001). Symptom dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Toward quantitative phenotypes. American Journal of Medical Genetics, vol. 105(1), pp.28-30.

Myers, D. G. (2010). Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers, Inc.

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