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Problem Essay Rough Draft

Christopher Carlson

General Psychology

Easter Florida State University

Pamela K Fletcher M.S.


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The Problem of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a neurobiological disorder that effects men, women,

and children of every race, religion, nationality and socioeconomic group. OCD is far more

common than once thought and is associated with high levels of impairment. The financial cost

of OCD to the U.S. economy is estimated to be in excess of $8 billion per year.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) refers to undesirable and alarming thoughts,

images, or yearning that interfere with a persons mind and can cause a tremendous amount of

discomfort and anxiety revolving around the specific issues or issues one has (Melinda Smith M.A,

Jeanne Segal PHD, 2017). Most People with OCD attempt to reduce these compulsions by

engaging often times in a ritualistic way. Many individuals across the United States are affected

by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some individuals who have obsessive-compulsive

disorder do not even realize, or refuse to accept they have the signs associated with the disorder.

This paper discusses my problem, the cause and effect, and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive

disorder, a look at the biological, and social ramifications of the disorder. As well as explain and

discuss the most current best practice of treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and finally

what solutions for containment of my disorder. This next section will begin with the causes and

symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What I find to be my problem

My problem revolves around personal issues with what I believe to be a form of

contamination (washer) OCD. This is where if find myself cleaning obsessively and focusing on
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the cleanliness of inanimate items and areas within my home. This may not seem to be such a

terrible thing, but the issues arise with my child and anyone whom lives within my home. I find

that I often will take cleanliness situation out of context based on my obsessive idea of certain

need or level of cleanliness. If things are not as they should be I become irrational and even angry

at those involved. In time, I find that I am able to acknowledge that I have taken it out of context

and calm only after I have soothed the anxiety or itch associated compulsion with it. So, we ask

our self why am I like this, and where does this come from and even how do I fix this.

Causes and Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Many researchers believe that OCD has a biological beginning, while others believe OCD

is learned by example, but what about OCD being caused by a wiring issue (Beyond.org). Many

feel OCD is inherited, although it seems more than one gene may be involved. The genes that are

involved seem to be the ones that involve serotonin and dopamine (also discussed in class). The

environment an individual can also play a part in the development of OCD. A child who observes

a parent who fears germs and displays obsessive compulsive behavior may grow up to have the

same disorder to which he or she has been subjected (Beyond.org).

The symptoms of OCD can be ritualistic like washing, counting or being very orderly. These

obsessive compulsions are usually done over and over because the individual is unsure the action

was done correct. He or she may feel contaminated again (Mayo Clinic). When this activity or

obsessive-compulsive behavior is learned it is very hard to stop much like many addictive habits

(Add Source & Citation). There are 5 main categories that individuals with OCD are placed into.
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These categories are: Washers, Checkers, Doubters and Sinners, counters and arrangers, finally

Hoarders.

Washers: With OCD washers and cleaners suffer from obsessions about contamination. When

questioned, they may admit to fearing sickness, germs or infection. However, many cannot

pinpoint what they fear. Many of these substances are unusual and not what people would

expect. Some people with OCD fear contamination from more abstract things such as other

thoughts, words, colors and places where crimes have been committed. Sufferers spend a lot of

time and energy trying to avoid places where they might touch these contaminants. They often

have the assumption that a tiny drop of a substance will expand and contaminate large areas

including a whole room.

Checkers: This type may engage in compulsive checking is to reduce distress associated with

uncertainty or doubt over feared consequences for oneself or others. An example is a person

who worries about causing harm by not being careful enough, may have the thought that if they

check that the door is locked, they will be assured that no one will break in. There are layers of

checkers ranging from checking locks, switches, mistakes, medical and many more that all relate

to a specific function for the type of checks conducted.

Doubters and Sinners: This type may have an irrational fear that they will cause something

terrible to happen to themselves or others if they do something wrong. They might be concerned

that God will punish them for their actions or try to replace what them deem to be bad words

with good ones.


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Counters and Arrangers: This type of person might repeat certain bodily motions or actions. They

wont be satisfied until items, like books on a shelf or shoes in a closet, are in a certain order.

Counters dont necessarily need to count aloud but may in fact be counting mentally the steps

taken, or card passing, cracks in the sidewalk, tiles on the ceiling in the therapists office.

Hoarders: This person doesnt throw anything out, fearing they might need these items in the

future or will forget something important if they no longer have the item. Routines, religious

practices and learning a new skill are not considered compulsions. Like bipolar disorder and

eating disorders, OCD symptoms can be triggered by certain objects, actions or circumstances.

As we can see there are many types of associated issues with OCD all dependent on the

nature of the compulsion that drives a person anxiety. Next this paper will discuss the biological

and social ramifications of OCD.

(Helpguide.org, Mayoclinic.org)

Biological and Social Ramifications

There are many biological and social ramifications when it comes to obsessive-compulsive

disorder. According add source (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Rumination; which refers to prolonged

thinking that is experienced as uncontrollable around the same subject, this includes both

instructive thoughts, and often form of doubts or question, and repeated attempts to find the

answer." The reason why this factual statement has come into play is because with obsessive

compulsive disorder there is no known outside influence of the disease, therefore the biological

aspect of the disorder is something the individual patient has created within and these inner
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feelings evolve over time (Add Source & Citation). The consequences to these actions when it

comes to a social life are the individual becomes untrustworthy of their environment therefore

not letting anyone in, or when allowed in under great scrutiny. In other words, the individual may

isolate themselves from society or relationships, which is not ideal. Another social ramification

is the individual also may go through economic crisis from seclusion. This seclusion could or

would inevitably cause them to not be able to provide for themselves or their families,

compounding more and causing even homelessness in some cases. In conclusion, its important

to know about this disorder in order to gain the proper treatment and awareness. Lets now take

a look at prevalences, age of onset and gender differences.

Solutions to the Problem

OCD treatments may not result in a cure, but can help keep a persons symptoms under

control so they do not take over a persons daily life (Mayo Clinic source info). There are two

main treatments for OCD, psychotherapy and medications. According to research the most

effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder is (CBT) cognitive behavior therapy and

medication (Mayo Clinic Source info).

A specific type of psychotherapy when dealing with someone with OCD is exposure and

response prevention (ERP). This type of psychotherapy involves gradually exposing ones self to

images, thoughts, feared objects or obsessions, such as dirt. ERP is typically done under the

guidance and a licensed medical professional such as, social worker, a psychologist, or counselor

of mental health in an outpatient setting. This type of therapy helps a person learn healthier ways
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to cope with their anxiety along with or without medications such as antidepressants. (Add more

content)

Sometimes ERP treatment and antidepressants are not effective enough to control OCD

symptoms, and a person still having trouble there are other treatment options available. There

is a traditional setting where the patient seeks individual sessions usually once or twice a week.

For the more intensive outpatient some may choose to attend a group setting and individual

sessions several days a week. There is also a day program; this allows patients to be in a group or

individual setting during the day, generally at a mental health treatment center. Treating OCD

can be difficult at times and requires courage and determination, so having the right kind of

support can make a big difference in helping a person overcome obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Chemical treatments can also be used in treatment for OCD. These Chemicals also have

significant side effects and repercussions to (need transition to conclusion and more content)

Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper described what OCD is, and how this disorder affects people

within the united states. It elucidated that symptoms of repeated obsessions can cause a great

deal of anxiety and discomfort. Further, the causes that surround obsessive-compulsive disorder

(OCD) such as inherited genes and environmental influences were explored. Biological and social

ramifications of a person, which has to do with a persons thought process and attempting to find

answers was examines and social ramifications were clarified. We also discussed some of the

potential solutions and what I have done in order to curve my personal issues to alleviate the

stress or anxiety caused by OCD.


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References

Are There Benefits to OCD? (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from
https://blogs.psychcentral.com/overcoming-ocd/2016/01/are-there-benefits-to-ocd/

How is OCD Treated? (2016, April 27). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from
https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/treatment/

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK). (1970, January 01). OBSESSIVE-
COMPULSIVE DISORDER AND BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER. Retrieved September 26,
2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0015824/

Nichols, H. (2017, April 20). Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Symptoms, causes, and


treatment. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/178508.php

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from


https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). (2016, September 17). Retrieved September 26,


2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obsessive-compulsive-
disorder/symptoms-causes/dxc-20245951

Taking patients beyond OCD through higher physician recruitment standards. (n.d.).
Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://beyondocd.org/information-for-
individuals/what-causes-ocd

Weiss, L. (2017, January 09). 5 Positive Side Effects Of Having OCD That'll Help You Crush
All Your Goals. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://elitedaily.com/life/positive-
side-effects-ocd-goals/1720505/