Obsessive Compulsive Disorder By: Brandon Wronker Period 6th 5/16/10 This a project for a high school AP Psychology course. This is a fictionalized account of having a psychological ailment. For questions about this blog project or its content please email the teacher Chris Jocham: email@example.com
About OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a type of anxiety disorder where a person focuses on unreasonable thoughts (obsessions). These obsessions lead to irrational and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). People with OCD may start to realize that their behaviors are irrational, and may try to stop/ignore them. This could lead to more anxiety and eventually more behaviors to relieve the stress of these stressful situations. Although these compulsions may help the fearstemporarily, they will only come back, resultingin a cycle of many irrational behaviors.
About OCD (cont.) Anxiety is a way for people to tell themselves that they do not feel comfortable, and that they need to react, respond, or do something about it. People with OCD may realize that their fears may seem unreasonable, but they cannot stop because their brain is telling them that these fears are urgent. This is because people with OCD do not have a very good warning system in their brains. Your brain may tell you that you must be uncomfortable or afraid when you are not. Scientists have seen that, in brain scan of people with OCD and people without OCD, there are noticeable differences.
Symptoms of OCD OCD obsessions are unwanted thoughts or impulses that do not make logical sense. These obsessions can often be formed into themes, for example: fear of contamination, having things orderly and symmetrical, aggressive impulses, sexual images or thoughts. The symptoms of these thoughts or impulses may include high anxiety involving: hurtful images or thoughts, forgetting to lock the door, a germ related disease, or organization.
Symptoms of OCD (cont.) Compulsions are the acts that result from irrational fears. Many typical compulsions include: Washing and cleaning, counting, checking often, performing the same action repeatedly, constant organization
Causes of OCD The main cause of OCD are not for sure, but there are a few theories. Some people say that OCD is caused by leaned behaviors that increase over time. There is also a chemical theory involving serotonin. They say that OCD can be caused by insufficient level of serotonin. This came about because researchers have noticed that when people with OCD take medication that are made to increase levels of serotonin, they also see a decrease in compulsive behavior.
Treatments for OCD There are many treatments for OCD. Some include therapy, medication, or self-help. Therapy Systematic Desensitization This is when you slowly present a phobia or something that brings fear to someone, to dull their responses to anxiety-provoking stimuli. For example, someone who constantly washes their hands might be asked to touch an object with dirt on it, without washing their hands afterwards. They will be asked to do this on several different occasions. Eventually this persons anxiety and fear of dirt will go away. Cognitive Therapy This is when you think of other ways to think about, and deal with your obsessions without resorting to unhealthy compulsions. http://helpguide.org/mental/obsessive_compulsive_disorder_ocd.htm
Treatments for OCD (cont.) Medication Though there are not many medical treatments for OCD, as it is mostly a learned behavior, some people use antidepressants as medication for OCD. Self-Help Learn About the Disorder (OCD) Stay close to Family and Friends Join a Support Group Practice Relaxation Techniques http://helpguide.org/mental/obsessive_compulsive_disorder_ocd.htm
Treatments for OCD (cont.) Four Steps for Conquering Obsessive Thoughts and Compulsive Urges Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, author of Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior, offers the following four steps for dealing with OCD: RELABEL – Recognize that the intrusive obsessive thoughts and urges are the RESULT OF OCD. REATTRIBUTE – Realize that the intensity and intrusiveness of the thought or urge is CAUSED BY OCD; it is probably related to a biochemical imbalance in the brain. REFOCUS – Work around the OCD thoughts by focusing your attention on something else, at least for a few minutes: DO ANOTHER BEHAVIOR. REVALUE – Do not take the OCD thought at face value. It Is not significant in itself. Source: Westwood Institute for Anxiety Disorders http://helpguide.org/mental/obsessive_compulsive_disorder_ocd.htm
If You Have OCD…. There are many different aspects and habits of people that could point out whether or not you may have OCD. Go to the site below to see an example of a quiz that could help you determine if you have OCD: http://psychcentral.com/ocdquiz.htm
My Life with OCD You may think that these obsessions and compulsions are just things that I see. I will show you how my disorder affects not only me on the inside, but also other people around me and how it affects me, socially. I will also show you how extreme my condition gets sometimes. I will do this by giving you actual examples from my life.
Work I have been fired from many jobs because of my disorder. There is a very large range of reasons, but to be honest they were all justified.
..Work One day, I was at work and I went over to the kitchen to get my lunch out of the refrigerator, and I noticed that the microwave had some soup left init from the day before. As I started to clean it my boss called me over to talk to him about something very important. I started to leave but the soup sitting there, dirty wouldn’t get out of my mind. I went back and stayed there to clean the soup, despite numerous calls from my boss. He came over and yelled at me as I kept my nose down and cleaned. He started yelling at me for not listening to him and unprofessionalism. I finally snapped and yelled at him for not keeping his office clean 24/7. Needless to say, I was fired on the spot….I stayed until it was clean.
Work (Quitting) I have also lost jobs due to this disorder. Although these were from quitting, not being fired. Here are some reasons I have quit a job in the past: Non-Sanitary/Not Clean Bathroom Didn’t have an even number of sinks in the bathroom Janitor moved my stuff around, so I had to re-organize everything, every morning
Many Mornings I am also late, many mornings, to places that I need to be at. I have many routines that I need to do. The one that is the worst for me is my routine at night, getting to bed. If I mess up I must start over, and it takes a long time. I also have to set my alarm ahead however many extra minutes that it took me to do my routine.
Night-time Routine This is what I must do every night before I go to bed, or I will not sleep: Brush Teeth (Rinse Mouth Twice) Touch the two lights in the hallway Step into Bedroom Make sure door is about an inch cracked open Turn off light Right leg first, climb into bed Make sure alarm is set for proper amount of sleep time Make sure ends of sheets are even with each other, and all pillows are aligned properly Try to sleep
Not Really a Thanksgiving.. Thanksgiving with my family is a big event and very stressful. We have family coming in from all over the country and while I love to see them, my rituals are more important. My family is aware of my condition and tries to be very supportive. Because of the things I must do before I eat, the meal is usually delayed, which adds to my stress. Thank goodness I don’t have to cut the turkey!
Not exactly eHarmony. As you could imagine, I’m single. I have tried to date or even just go out with friends after work. Initially the women thought my obsessions were cute, but eventually found them to be annoying. I haven't given up but I know I need to understand myself first before I ask someone else to understand me. I do have some friends and I am able to go out with them for a short period of time, but excuse myself before I get out of control.
Double Bogey I used to love playing every Saturday with a group of friends. But golf is a game of repetition and that repetition crept into my disorder. I am still able to practice but because I have to have the perfect grip, the perfect stance, the perfect swing, I could never get off the practice range.
There’s Hope I have been in therapy for a little while, trying to be able to control my compulsions. My therapist and I are working on systematic desensitization. We are starting with altering my night time ritual. I am going to go through my routine, but when I get to the last step, checking my pillows for alignment, I am supposed to think of a happy, peaceful thought, instead of what the pillows look like. To do this, I use the thought of a beautiful, sunny day, and I go to my happy place. Eventually, I should start to associate not aligning my pillows with the good thought.
There’s Hope I believe that therapy was a great idea. So far I have not seen much improvement, but I believe in the path that my therapist and I are taking to eventually control my disorder. From problems with work and relationships to family and a social life, I know that my life would greatly improve with the removal of my disorder.