Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)


Approximately five million people in the U.S., or about one in every 50 Americans, suffer from OCD. That?s about 2%, a substantial number of sufferers. It affects men, women, and children, as well as people of all races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms that can include powerful, unwanted, or recurrent thoughts and/or compulsive, repetitive behaviors.

Some of the most common obsessions are:
- Fear of contamination
- Fear of causing harm to another
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of behaving in a socially unacceptable manner
- Need for symmetry or exactness
- Excessive doubt

Some of the most common compulsions may include:
- Cleaning/Washing
- Checking
- Arranging/Organizing
- Collecting/Hoarding
- Counting/Repeating

Obsessions are unwanted, recurrent and unpleasant thoughts that cause anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive, ritualistic behaviors that the person feels driven to perform to decrease anxiety. At least 80 percent of patients with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions.

OCD appears to be caused by increased activity in the orbital frontal cortex and caudate nucleus of the brain. OCD may also involve abnormal functioning of the neurotransmitter seratonin in the brain. Stress does not cause OCD; however, a stressful event can trigger the disorder. There are no hard facts to tell how OCD is obtained. OCD is thought to be a genetic disorder. This idea has plenty of evidence and is believed by most doctors. The chemical imbalance in the Brain is an imbalance of Seratonin and Dompamine. 80 percent of the people with OCD have another disorder called Tourettes Syndrome (TS). This syndrome is caused by the imbalance of Dompamine in the Brain. This causes the person to have muscular and/or verbal spasm which are called tics. Some people who are familiar with TS may think of people shaking wildly of cursing a lot, but that is only in a severe case. These are a couple of examples, or case studies, that I got off the internet.

I. Dick

Up until this year, Dick had done fairly well in school, played basketball, held down a part time job cleaning a fish plant, and spent most weekends with his girl friend. Over the last year, he has had to let most of this go. His girlfriend found someone who had more time, he quit his job, and he stopped going to basketball. He could barely get his schoolwork done. Why? It took him about three hours to get ready in the morning, another three hours to get ready for bed at night, and a good 3 hours after school obsessing and doing rituals. Dick said he felt like a hamster going around in a wheel.

II. Curtis-

Curtis used to be kind of a carefree 11 year old. Lately, he looked as if something horrible had just happened. In fact, his teacher told his mother, he looks like those pictures on TV of who are wandering around in refugee camps in Africa. Curtis's life seemed pretty nice by most standards. On the other hand, inside his head was like a war. About 10 times a day, Curtis would think that he will probably loose control and strangle someone. Some weeks it is his baby sister, sometimes it is his mom. He has never hurt anyone, but he can't help thinking about it

III. Chanelle

After reading some books on OCD, Chanelle said she would rather wash her hands 100 times a day and check every door than have her problem. The only way Chanelle could get to school was if she wore green shoes, blue jeans, and a green sweatshirt. She washed this outfit every day and put it on clean the next. It didn't take very long for the other kids in grade 5 to start noticing this. Chanelle told no one why except to say, "it's stupid, but I can't help it". She was teased constantly and was on the verge on refusing to go to school altogether.

IV. Jody

When Jody was 6, She had a little "habit". Before she picked up anything in her hand, she would very lightly touch it once with her index finger. When her parents asked her why, Jody just said that she liked to. There were no other obsessions or compulsions. Although no one mentioned it outside of the family, Jody's mother and father became worried when Jody's little sister, age 3, started imitating this