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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Psychology Essay

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Updated: Apr 23rd, 2020

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a nervous disorder which is accompanied by superfluous, irrepressible and monotonous thoughts. It is more of a ritualized behavior which one cannot do without since they are compelled to execute it to reduce their anxiety.

Some of the common symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder include: extreme hoarding, violent thoughts, excessive cleaning or hand washing until they become sour and nervous rituals for instance checking a number of times even more than ten times if you had turned off the stove. Other symptoms include being preoccupied by sex and checking more than three times if you have closed all the doors before going out and coming in the house.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder usually causes the brain to only have one particular thought which leads to anxiety (Lee 2002). The OCD symptoms are protracting and estranging and normally lead to financial relentless and emotional misery for the sufferers. The action of those suffering from OCD is usually unreasonable hence can annoy someone who does not understand what they are going through.

The sufferers are always more distressed by their obsessions and irritations which normally compel them to perform a specific task more than twice. Approximately half of adults suffering from OCD had the disorder from childhood. This shows that the disorder is a life span disease. Obsessive-compulsive disorder may be caused by biological and psychological factors. This paper mainly addresses some of the characteristics of OCD, what contribute it, the kind of people who are likely to attract the disease, types of treatment of the disorder, and how it affects a persons’ life.

Signs and Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Those people who suffer from OCD generally have obsessive thoughts about different things for instance concerning anxiety of prowlers, bacteria or dirt, others have violent thoughts and act, some fear to hurt those they consider dear to them, and others have religious problems.

These kinds of people do not usually have control over their unwanted behaviors or thoughts, and that is why they find themselves doing the same ritual repeatedly such as doing the same steps over and over, locking and unlocking doors more than ten times, wash their hands until they become sour and some even keep unwanted items.

These people do not always find pleasure when conduction these rituals; instead, they normally feel relieved from their anxious thoughts hence finally become at peace with themselves. Some other symptoms include spending much of your time within the day conducting rituals or having particular thoughts, which normally result in anguish.

Causes of OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disease which sometimes runs within the family. However, it is hard to tell why some people have a disorder while other people do not have it within the family. According to research conducted by health officers, the disorder is caused when several parts of the human brain are occupied with anxiety and fear (Wilson & David 2005). Environmental factors and stress also normally cause OCD.

Biological factors are one of the major causes of OCD. The brain being a complex structure contains millions of neurons which have to work and communicate with each other to facilitate normally functioning of the body. Electrical signals usually facilitate communication of the neurons with the help of neurotransmitters which move electrical messages from one neuron to another neuron. OCD develops as a result of low levels of serotonin (neurotransmitter) in the brain (Feldman 2010).

According to a report on findings of health research, OCD can be passed from the parent to the children if there is an imbalance of serotonin in the brain. This explains why OCD can be inherited from the family. Serotonin imbalance occurs when there is a problem with the pathways that links the brain area that is involved in planning and judgment and the brain area that sort out body movement messages. Streptococcus bacterial infection can also cause OCD if it is untreated, and it recurs.

Environmental factors may include stress, which triggers OCD. There are however some environmental factors that may worsen the symptoms of OCD, and they include a drastic adjustment in living condition, relationship issues, particular illness, issues associated with work or school and loss of a those we consider dear to us.

How OCD can be treated

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be treated through medication or psychotherapy. Cognitive behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is mostly used to treat the disorder. This therapy teaches those to suffer from OCD how to think, react, and behave, especially when they feel anxious or develop thoughts of fear.

It will help eliminate obsessive thoughts or those compulsory actions for those who suffer from OCD. One type of therapy that can be useful in the reduction of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders especially the behaviors and bad thoughts is known as exposure and response prevention (Abramowitz 2009).

Medication is also another way in which OCD can be treated. The most common medication that doctors usually prescribe to OCD patients includes antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Anti-Anxiety medications are usually very powerful if taken. They are however, different types of anti-anxiety medications.

Nevertheless, many of the types usually have a quick response because they always begin working right from the time they are taken. Anti-anxiety medications should however, not be consumed for a long period. On the other hand, antidepressants are usually can also be used to cure OCD. They, however, take longer period approximately 10-12weeks before it begins working. Just like any other forms of medication, these types of medications to have side effects such as sleeping difficulty, headache, and nausea.

Most people are, however not affected by the side effects of the medications, especially when the performance of the dose is extremely slow. It is, however, important to talk to the doctor concerning the side effects if you are experiencing any. Antidepressants are however risky for young adults, children, and teens. The medication can cause suicidal thoughts on people, and this means that those who are under antidepressant medication should be closely monitored.

Family therapy is also another method by which OCD can be treated. Families can be of benefit if they have a loved one who is suffering from OCD. Those who are suffering from OCD usually have bad behaviors which may irritate other people and even cause conflicts, but if the family understands the sufferer, then there can be peace. Families can also be a motivating factor; they can offer free teachings on the patient on how to go about the problem they are experiencing.

How OCD affects a person’s life

Can you imagine a life whereby you cannot do without performing a particular ritual whether you are in your house or at a visitors place! It is a tough condition which needs someone who understands you or else it will cause conflicts between you and your friends. These rituals cannot make sense, especially at the work place or among some of your friends. It may bring you shame, but there is nothing you can do because it is a condition you cannot overcome unless you get treatment.

Taking time to wash your hands while you have clients waiting to be served may destroy your repetition and sometimes you may lose your job, especially when there are regular complains from the customers. OCD can make you feel helpless and isolated from those you love. It is hard to live with OCD and therefore, the need for immediate medication or treatment to help you deal with the condition.

Those people who are most likely to attract OCD usually have their minds preoccupied with one thing for example sex, there are those people who also have violent thoughts and excessive behaviors are most likely to attract the disease (Osborn 1999). Autism is a disease that possesses similar symptoms to that of OCD. Just like OCD, autism is also characterized by repetitive behaviors, lack of communication, and social interaction. Those who suffer from OCD are usually isolated and helpless, just like those with autism.

In conclusion, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is more of a ritualized behavior which one cannot do without since they are compelled to execute it to reduce their anxiety. It is a disorder of anxiety which is characterized by superfluous, irrepressible and repetitive thoughts. The disorder is mainly caused by biological and environmental factors and can be treated through medication and psychotherapy.


Abramowitz, S. (2009). Getting over OCD: A 10 step workbook for taking back your life. New York: Guilford Press.

Feldman, R. (2010). Understanding Psychology, 10th edition. McGraw: McGraw Hill Publishers.

Lee, B. (2002). The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts. New York: Plume Books.

Osborn, I. (1999). Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. New York: Dell.

Wilson, R & David, V. (2005). Overcoming Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. New York: Constable & Robinson Ltd.

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