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Society and Mental Illness: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder with episodes of recurring and persistent thoughts and compulsive behaviors that interfere with a person's daily life. These obsessive thoughts often cause the patient extreme fear and anxiety, and the compulsive, repetitive behaviors are performed to alleviate the distress and anxiety. OCD sufferers worry and fear that something bad may happen if they do not engage in their repetitive behaviors. OCD does not produce any pleasure or enjoyment for these patients.
As described by the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, “People with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have thoughts (obsessions) or rituals (compulsions) which happen over and over again. Rituals — such as hand washing, counting, checking on a specific item (like whether the oven was left on), or cleaning — often are done in hope of stopping the thoughts” (“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” 2010). Unfortunately, these repetitive actions only offer momentary feelings of relief. The thoughts and compulsions continue and can take over the individual’s life. The most common behaviors, such as checking, counting and cleaning, may be performed hundreds of times daily (King, 2013, p. 452). This is the main distinction from a person’s normal anxieties.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine further describes the criteria for a diagnosis of OCD to include the patient’s realization “that his/her obsessions or compulsions are unreasonable or excessive. Moreover, the obsessions or compulsions must be time-consuming (taking up more than one hour per day), cause distress, or cause impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning” (“Obsessive-Compulsiv...

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