Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Essay

1025 Words 5 Pages
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD causes people to suffer in silence and secrecy and can destroy relationships and the ability to work. It may bring on shame, ridicule, anger, and intolerance from friends and family. Although it has been reported in children, it strikes most often during adolescence or young adult years. The illness can affect people in any income bracket, of any race, gender, or ethnic group and in any occupation. If people recognize the symptoms and seek treatment, OCD can be controlled.
OCD plagues people with intrusive, unwanted thoughts or obsessions, which are rarely pleasant. People who have these obsessions recognize that they are senseless. Still, they are unable to stop them. They may worry about
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Persistent fears that harm may come to self or a loved one, an unreasonable belief that one has a terrible illness, or an excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly, are common. Again and again, the individual experiences a disturbing thought, such as, "My hands may be contaminated--I must wash them"; "I may have left the gas on"; or "I am going to injure my child." These thoughts are intrusive, unpleasant, and produce a high degree of anxiety. Often the obsessions are of a violent or a sexual nature, or concern illness.

People with OCD usually have considerable insight into their own problems. Most of the time, they know that their obsessive thoughts are senseless or exaggerated, and that their compulsive behaviors are not really necessary. However, this knowledge is not sufficient to enable them to stop obsessing or the carrying out of rituals.
Because victims of OCD realize their obsessive thoughts and behaviors are senseless and unnecessary, they may try to hide their problem. They fear people will think they are "crazy" or silly, and they may feel that they're all alone. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. OCD affects as many as 2 percent of all Americans. Research indicates that, like depression and bipolar disorder, OCD is caused by an imbalance of the neurotransmitter called serotonin. This brain chemical, one of many that allows the nerve cells to communicate with…