On the website of the International OCD Foundation, they experts define Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as “a disorder of the brain and behavior” (International OCD Foundation 2014). People who suffer from OCD have a lot of anxiety because their OCD causes them to have “obsessions and compulsions” that are time-consuming and are obstacles to normal living (International OCD Foundation 2014). An example of OCD is an obsession about germs. If a person is so afraid of germs that they cannot even handle the trash, then they have trouble functioning like a normal person and having normal relationships. In the book Loving Someone with OCD: Help for You and Your Family, the author writes about a spouse who is so obsessively afraid of “germs and contamination” that he cannot take out the trash, clean the house, or do regular household chores (Landsman, Rupertus, and Pedrick 2005 p 137). In this type of case, the spouse may suffer so badly that he has great difficulty “taking the garbage cans out to the curb, cleaning the bathroom, or washing the laundry. A spouse who has fears of accidentally contaminating or poisoning others might find preparing three meals a day for the family overwhelming” (Landsman, Rupertus, and Pedrick 2005 p 137). Other examples of OCD are a person who has to check all the light switches or outlets before leaving the house. A common example of OCD is a person who washes his hands over and over all day for no a good reason. These things like hand washing and checking lights are done as rituals, usually before the person leaves to run errands or do some regular type of task (McGrath 2008). Experts agree that the causes of OCD are environmental or biological. Both of these things may also be present in a person with OCD. Experts who think OCD is caused by biological things believe that the person’s brain has a certain chemistry that makes the person OCD. This may be hereditary. Experts who think that OCD is caused by a person’s environment believe that things like infection can cause OCD. But there is no agreement on whether these things are the true cause of OCD or not. Scientists who write for the American Journal of Psychiatry studied the brains of people with OCD. Because there does not seem to be an agreement about OCD or its causes these experts did a study. They compared people with regular brains to people with OCD brains. The results of the study were that the “orbitofrontal-striatal and (para)limbic brain regions may be the result of altered neuroplasticity associated with chronic compulsive behaviors, anxiety, or compensatory processes related to cognitive dysfunction” (Rasmussen and Tsuang 1986). According to an article on the PBS website titled “The Ritalin Explosion” there is a lot of doubt about modern diagnoses of OCD, ADD, and ADHD. There are many people who do not believe these are real diseases. These people fee that therapists and doctors just want to give adults and children medications that are not needed. According to the author when he was training to be a doctor he learned that only a very few people suffered from OCD. He writes that they thought people who had OCD made up “only 1 percent of the psychiatric population. This meant that, from the people who came to a clinic, one out of a hundred had OCD” (Parker 2001). Now they estimate that instead of one in a hundred having OCD, actually three in a hundred have OCD. Some experts on OCD are very in favor of using medication. Some of the medicines that doctors think are the best to treat OCD are “Prozac and Luvox and Zoloft” (Parker 2001). Other kinds of therapy such as talk-therapy are also used to treat OCD. Today people who think they have OCD are not ashamed to ask for help and medication.
International OCD Foundation. 2012. <www.ocfoundation.org>
Landsman, Karen J, Kathleen M. Rupertus, and Cherry Pedrick. Loving Someone with OCD: Help for You & Your Family. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2005. Print.McGrath, Patrick. OCD Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 250 Top Questions About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Naperville: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2008. Internet resource.Parker, Harvey. 2001. “The Ritalin Explosion.” PBS Frontline. <www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/experts/explosion.html>
Rasmussen, SA, and MT Tsuang. "Clinical Characteristics and Family History in DSM-III Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” The American Journal of Psychiatry. 143.3 (1986): 317-22. Print.