Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Essay

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OCD: What's in Control?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is the fourth most common mental illness in the U.S. (8). OCD affects five million Americans, or one in five people (3). This is a serious mental disorder that causes people to think and act certain things repetitively in order to calm the anxiety produced by a certain fear. Unlike compulsive drinking or gambling, OCD compulsions do not give the person pleasure; rather, the rituals are performed to obtain relief from the discomfort caused by obsessions (2). OCD is more common than schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or panic disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (6). This disorder can be therapeutically treated, but not cured.
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OCD sufferers can also be subject to hyperscrupulosity, which involves extreme worry and anxiety for the safety of others. Another form of OCD is body dysmorphia. This is a condition where people become excessively focused on some body part which they perceive to be grossly malformed (1). Hypochondriacs -people who have an extreme fear of sickness - fall into this category of OCD. General behaviors that may indicate OCD are: excessive washing, repeating, checking, touching, counting, ordering/arranging, hoarding, or praying (2). OCD patients live in a vicious cycle. They have obsessions about certain things and cause anxiety. To relieve this anxiety, compulsions are performed, and then attention can be paid again to the obsessions that have not truly been alleviated. The difference between OCD sufferers and other people, is the OCD sufferers use up at least an hour of their day thinking or doing these incessant tasks and they interfere with the person's work, social life, and relationships (2).

If OCD is found in conjunction with another disorder, it is usually found with a ticking disorder or depression. Ticking is involuntary motor behavior that results from a feeling of discomfort (much like the compulsions of OCD), and depression usually is exemplified from the person's disappointment or shame for having the OCD. Sixty to ninety percent of people with OCD have suffered from at least on major episode of depression at some point in
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