Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Are you the type of person who has a phobia of germs, dirt, or contaminated
bodily fluids? Is the only way to feel safe and pure is for you to cleanse
yourself countless times a day? Or maybe you`re the type of person who has to
check things twice, three times or more. Perhaps you`re the type of person who
has to do everything twice, or by a fixed number. Maybe you are the type of
person who must have everything neatly placed, and if misplaced at all you throw
a tantrum. If you are a person who happens to do any of these things then maybe
you have OCD, the acronym for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (formerly known as obsessive neurosis) is
categorized as an anxiety disorder because the main focus seems to be anxiety
and discomfort that is usually increased by the obsessions (thoughts) and
decreased by the compulsions or rituals (actions). (Baer 3) According to Baer,

Obsessions are defined as recurrent, persistent ideas, thoughts, images, or
impulses that are experienced, at least initially, as intrusive and senseless.

Compulsions are defined as repetitive, purposeful, and intentional behaviors
that are performed in response to an obsession or according to certain rules or
in a stereotypical fashion. (Baer 3) Obsession-compulsive disorder usually
begins in late adolescence in one to two thirds of reported cases. The problem
is associated with significant life changes. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
results from biological and psychological influences. Abnormal levels of the
neurotransmitter serotonin may play a role in OCD. Catscans of people with OCD
have discovered irregularities in the activity level of the orbital cortex,
caudate nucleus, cingulate cortex, and a brain circuit that assists control
movements of the limbs. (Pato 8) Many patients report having numerous neurotic
problems during childhood. These patients become socially isolated, and
consequently fall into a deep depression. This disorder affects males and
females quite differently. People with OCD tend to have a high celibacy rate,
particularly males. Both sexes tend to marry at an older age than other types of
psychiatric patients, and they have a low fertility rate. (Rachman 6) Most
studies concluded that OCD patients possess higher than average intelligence.

The average OCD patient has many types of compulsive behavior. The anxiety of

OCD is caused through its persistence. (Mavissakalian 15) And maybe this is why
cleaning and checking rituals are the most common types of obsessive-compulsive
disorder. These patients carry out activities as disinfecting of objects,
excessive hand washing until the hands are so clean that they crack and bleed,
excessive showering, and excessive rinsing of dishes. Securing locks, alarm
clocks, gas jets, and looking under the bed are some of the checking rituals OCD
patients have. If the obsessive-compulsive person qualms and ponders when the
ritual is not performed systematically. The task of this patient must be carried
out to perfection or it will not be preventative or restorative. The checking
ritual is described as intending to prevent some state of balance and order to
avoid infectivity from some distressing stimuli. (Rachman 14) Some obsessional
people often feel a compulsive need to arrange things in their environment. To
the observer, compulsive arranging seems identical with the activities of
normal, neat-minded people. The major distinction is the accompanying experience
of compulsivity. The frustration experienced by the obsessional person is a
result of disobedience of a different order severely disturbed by any deviation
from the set order and feels compelled to reposition the status quo. (Reed 38)

For example, if someone puts a document on your desk then this person just moved
an item from your possession, in turn when you arrive, you have to remove the
item and put anything that was interfered with back to a precise order. Sigmund

Freud was particularly fascinated in the obsessive-compulsive disorder. He
referred to it as the obsessional neurosis, and in 1926 Freud wrote it was
unquestionably the most interesting and re-paying subject of analytic research.

But as a research it has not been mastered. (Cooper 9) Freud also found evidence
of passive sexuality, and sexual experience yielding pleasure. The defenses used
in obsessional neurosis are denial, repression, regression, reaction
formulation, isolation, undoing, magical thinking, doubting, indecision,
intellectualization, and rationalization. Washing is most frequently engaged to
an undoing of a dirtying action. In analytic therapy, obsessive-compulsive
neurosis is regarded as the second type of transference neurosis. In hysterics,
the ego forms an alliance with the analyst to battle the neurosis. In compulsive
neurotics, the ego is split, with one part working logically while the other
thinks in fantasy. (Cooper 14) Obsessions and compulsions are also linked to
toxic conditioned stimuli obtained by classical conditioning