Sample Essay On Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Every human being has thoughts and images that characterize everyday life. On other occasions, seemingly uncontrollable thoughts can lead to obsessions and for some individuals the intensity of the obsessions develops into an involuntary disorder (Hoffman, 2003). Obsessive compulsory disorder is an anxiety disorder commonly taken as a condition in some cases. It is characterised by unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviours that occur involuntarily and causes the brain to stick onto a particular thought or urge, which are intrusive and lead to anxiety. Individuals with the condition often feel unable to resist the irrationality of obsessive thoughts and their compulsive behaviour. Obsession is a common word used every day to mean certain preoccupation in the mind or behaviour of a person. However, in the case of OCD individuals, it means something that diminishes their everyday encounter and thoughts, as psychologists discovered the condition to be more unwilling than willing (Düringer, 2014). OCD, therefore, is a condition that involves obsessions and compulsions. Compulsions are the thoughts and behaviour that the individuals use to counter the adversity of the condition.
Researchers have tried to establish the biological mediation of the disorder; the condition is associated with the brain circuit that regulates primitive aspects of behaviour. The circuit involves the front part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex, which relays information from the front part to the striatum and the thalamus. The striatum and the thalamus are the deeper parts of the brain including the caudate and nucleus of the basal ganglia. When the circuit process activates, the impulses trigger the individual’s attention, and the reflex causes the person to behave in a manner according to the impulse (Columbus, 2008).
The frontal lobes of the brain possess the ability to access information and memories an individual accumulates, and it plays a critical role in reminding how to behave or to respond to different types of situations. The orbitofrontal cortex particularly involves a system level cognitive framework for decision-making and influences the emotions of the person. The influence of operations in the circuit involved occurs at multiple levels consciously or non-consciously. The orbitofrontal cortex cannot mediate decision-making singularly, but the cortical and subcortical components of the large-scale system plays an important role as well. As a result, OCD only affects the frontal cortex, which involves the main factors characterizing the condition that is, thoughts and behavior and decision-making that are the compulsions.
Types of OCD
Traditionally, OCD has been categorized into two main types, the autogenous and reactive, but some psychologists have created main categories that define the condition more precisely. They include checking, contamination, hoarding, intrusive thoughts, and the symmetry obsession. Despite the categorization, other forms of the disorder may occur but will show a close relationship to one of the categories though not precisely.
Individuals with this kind of OCD have or develop intense thoughts in relation to a possible harm to them or their peers and check almost ritually to relieve the distress. Checking is often carried out multiple times, and that can have an adverse effect on the timing and anxiety. For example, a person may check over and over their gas or stove knobs for fear of leakage and possible explosion that will burn their house down.
It involves the need and urges to clean and wash as the compulsion for the obsessive fear that something is contaminated and poses a potential threat of illness or even untimely death. The cleaning is often carried out repetitively until the person feels perfectly clean in which in a normal case, a person would clean once and that approves a clean environment. In this case, individuals with OCD may entirely avoid a place for fear of contamination.
Hoarding has been recognized as a distinct diagnosis, and it involves the inability of the individual to discard useless or unworthy possessions that could be of limited value in the normal sense. That comes with a special emotional attachment to the possessions that the individual has and due to this it may congest the space a person lives.
Intrusive thoughts involve a case where a person with OCD has repetitive obsessional thoughts that may be disturbing and in some cases horrifying. For example, the person has thoughts over and over on violence or sexual harm to self or loved ones. Because of the involuntary nature of intrusive thoughts, the individuals suffer extreme distress though they are least likely to act on the thoughts, and consequently they go to extreme extents just to avoid the thoughts. The thoughts can be primarily on one concern but in some instances they could cover several concerns. Often, intrusive thoughts bring about doubts, and the individuals could be doubtful of almost everything they are involved in including partners or even assumes that thinking about something bad makes it more likely to happen.
Individuals that experience this type of obsession often feel a strong need to have things arranged and rearranged in a particular way until they feel everything is right or to avoid certain issues. For example, the person may arrange and rearrange clothes in the closet to have a color or type order that is unnecessary in the normal case. It can also involve saying words over and over until the purpose gets fulfilled. The obsession develops over time and at some point the person will have everything arranged in a particular order.
People with OCD commonly show signs of their obsessive thoughts by the way they act. They will develop lasting fear, excessive focus, and superstitions and develop ideas that may seem unnecessary in the normal sense. Some of the compulsive behavior signs include excessive cross-checking, spending a lot of time on one activity like washing when it is plainly unnecessary and engaging in ritual activities triggered by fear and attachment. The signs of OCD often develop more conspicuously between adolescent and adulthood.
More individuals with OCD continue to respond well to treatment therapies despite the condition being thought as impossible to treat. The treatment for OCD includes self-help therapies, medications and cognitive behavior therapy and in some cases surgery. Medication focuses mostly on the use of antidepressants that are also effective in treating anxiety disorders caused by the obsessional thoughts of OCD. The drugs increase the amount of serotonin and maintain its balance within the brain. It is believed that the imbalance between serotonin levels influences moods adversely and causes depression. Cognitive behavior therapy yielded results in treating OCD and aims at fixing the harmful patterns of thinking and behavior that characterize OCD. Self-help therapy is important as it complements the other treatment processes and involves meditations and other healthy habits that will combat the effects of OCD and make other treatment therapies more effective. Ultimately, surgery may be an option. It involves a surgical procedure in severe cases of symptoms of OCD and through the procedure, certain brain regions are deactivated. The surgical procedure has been successful on most occasions with more than half the OCD patients involved showing a significant improvement in the symptoms. The most important thing in every treatment therapy is that for those involved they have to be informed and engaged to capture their awareness (Clark, 2004).
Clark, D. A. (2004). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for OCD. New York: Guilford Publications.
Columbus, A. M. (Ed.). (2008). Advances in Psychology Research (Vol. 53). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Düringer, E. (2014). Evaluating Emotions. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hoffman, J. H. (2003). Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Addiction (Rev.). Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing.