One of the key issues in the Psychology of Abnormal Behaviour is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD. OCD is a mental health condition where you will have obsessive thoughts and behaviours (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2007). It is estimated that 3% of the UK population have the condition although some may not even be aware they suffer from it. People who suffer from OCD will have persistent thoughts until a task is carried out to reduce anxiety levels (Comer, 2004). Also a person with OCD will often be a perfectionist and have a strict routine (Peterson, 1996).
The purpose of this section is to discuss the symptoms, causes and how OCD links in with specific other mental health conditions. A person suffering with OCD will have symptoms such as continuous distressing thoughts, which is the obsession. They will then have to carry out a certain behaviour to reduce anxiety levels, this being the compulsion.These thoughts and compulsions vary in different people and not all of them are the same. Although they are often categorised into groups such as sexual compulsions, cleanliness, safety concerns and religious rituals (Valfre, 2001). Someone with OCD will also let this behaviour take over their daily routines and take up a lot of their time.For example washing your hands several times to get rid of germs or tidying the house excessively, because of this people with OCD will lose a lot of socialisation with others. Referring to the nature nurture debate is the condition of OCD genetic or is it the environment that makes us that way (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2007). For example if OCD can start from as early as three years of age is there enough time for the behaviour of OCD to be learnt or is it just down to the genetics. Perhaps tests could be done to find out this information and a cure could be made available if the condition is found to be genetic. However the condition is also linked with certain mental health problems like depression and schizophrenia (Valfre, 2001). Except a person who does not suffer from these conditions will be conscious of how unnecessary their OCD is whereas someone suffering with schizophrenia will not. This will make it harder to treat schizophrenia suffers who suffer from OCD as they are not aware or what cycle needs to be broken (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2007). Although in this case maybe the schizophrenia has to be managed first before the OCD can be overcome. Perhaps all people with OCD do have a mental health problems like depression and OCD is just part of the symptoms. Eating disorders could also be linked with OCD as someone with anorexia will have an obsession with not gaining weight. By finding out this information we could work out further treatment methods.
The purpose of this section is to discuss the cures of OCD.The cures of OCD are varied some sufferers will ignore the condition with great or little success and others depend on alcohol to reduce the anxiety levels. The way in which a GP would cure the problem would be to offer an anti depressant and cognitive behavioural therapy (Peterson, 1996).This will then hopefully stop the unpleasant thoughts and break the repetitive compulsive cycle, although every individual is different and will respond to treatment in better ways than others. The anti depressant to treat OCD may be invalid in those who have OCD but do not suffer from depression, as OCD could just be to occupy the mind (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2007). However alternatively some suffers may get depressed because of their OCD condition and anti depressants would be the right treatment (Peterson, 1996).
The purpose of this section is to discuss how people suffering with OCD manage their condition. Sufferers manage OCD in different ways as discussed before everyone copes differently. CBT can be extended until the patient is confident enough that the OCD has been overcome. Others may manage OCD by taking an anti depressant