Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry. Resulting in repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety.
The frequent upsetting thoughts are called Obsessions. Obsessions are thoughts that recur and persist despite efforts to ignore or confront them. To try to control them (the upsetting thoughts), a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called Compulsions.
Symptoms of OCD can include:
- excessive washing or cleaning
- repeated checking
- extreme hoarding
- preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts
- relationship-related obsessions
- aversion to particular numbers
- nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room
Sufferers commonly share personality traits such as high attention to detail, avoidance of risk, careful planning, exaggerated sense of responsibility and a tendency to take time in making decisions.
Imagine a person who repeatedly checks light switches to ensure they’re in the off position, even when entering a clearly unlit room. The person would be exposed to their feared stimulus (leaving lights switched on), and would refuse to respond with any safety behaviors. This is called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a therapeutic effect is achieved as subjects confront their fears and discontinue their escape response.