Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Essay

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Essay

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Everyone has experienced emotions such as anxiety, fear, and worry; they are a part of everyday life. These reactions are normal and healthy; they typically don't come too often, and when they do, they don't last very long. However, the United States Health and Human Services Department (1998) estimates there is about 3.2 million Americans that suffer from a psychological anxiety disorder called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Those who suffer from this condition have frequent upsetting and unreasonable thoughts, worries, or fears. The Harvard Mental Health Letter (1998) notes that:
“The most common obsessional theme is cleanliness (dirt and germs), followed by aggression and sex, safety, and order or symmetry. Obsessions may take the form of doubts (has something happened to my child?); fears (something might happen to the child); images (I see the child drowning); or impulses (I fear that I am going to harm the child)” (para. 13).
In an attempt to control these obsessional themes, they perform one or more ritualistic behaviors or mental acts called compulsions. Unfortunately, these behaviors only relieve the intrusive thoughts and feelings for a short time, before coming back and ultimately, trapping those with this condition in a pattern of repetitive obsessions and senseless compulsions. Symptoms of OCD are numerous, they include: Repeated touching, checking or counting; avoidance or adherence to certain numbers; excessive washing or cleaning; and hoarding. Karno (1998) found that “At some time during their lives, often during their late teens or twenties, 2 to 3 percent of people cross [the] line from normal preoccupations and fussiness to debilitating disorder” (as cited in Myers, 2011, p. 463-464). Many individuals ...


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... their thoughts to a point where they can tolerate behavioral therapy and live somewhat of a normal life'” (Kato, 1992).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a difficult condition to overcome. “A 40-year follow-up study of 144 Swedish people diagnosed with the disorder found that, for most, the obsessions and compulsions had gradually lessened, though only 1 in 5 had completely recovered (Skoog & Skoog, 1999)” (as cited in Myers). It can take months or years, to get OCD under control and in fact, it may never go away. However, celebrities such as Howard Hughes, Howie Mandel, and David Beckham all suffer from this disorder, and are able to keep it under control and happen to maintain successful careers and live a relatively normal life. They are proof to the millions of OCD stricken Americans that the counting, the cleaning, the hoarding, can eventually be controlled.

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