Do you know that there are people spending hours in the toilet scrubbing their hands raw for fear of causing a death of a loved one if he or she does not do so? Or people who performed rituals such as touching the tips of their pencils for five times while closing their eyes every time before starting their work? These rituals or behaviours may sound ridiculous to you but they exist due to a mental illness called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder otherwise known as OCD which is the topic of my speech.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder consists of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are uncontrollable and undesirable thoughts while Compulsions are repetitive behaviours and rituals. OCD’s victims may recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational; however, they are unable to stop them due to the strong urge. People suffering from OCD are grouped into different categories known as Washers, Checkers, Doubters & Sinners, Counters& Arrangers and Hoarders. The exact cause of OCD is not understood, however, three possible factors are involved. Firstly, there are biological factors.
The brain contains billion of neurons that communicate using electrical signals via neurotransmitters. Research found that a low level of neurotransmitters called serotonin has connection to the development of OCD. Furthermore, evidences show that serotonin imbalance can be passed on from parents to their children, proving that OCD may be inherited. Secondly, People who undergo environmental stressful factors due to change in living environment, death of a loved one, problems in workplace or in school as well as relationship matters are more likely to trigger OCD and the worsening of OCD’s symptoms.
Fourthly, psychological factors based on the behavioural and cognitive theory also play a part. The behavioural theory suggests that people with OCD connects fear with certain situations or items and tried to reduce fear by avoiding things they fear or by performing rituals. This is more likely to occur to people that encountered periods of high emotional stress, such as starting a new job or ending a relationship. For example, a person is undergoing a stressful period; connect fears of getting an illness to toilet seats hence leading to the fear of using public toilets even if the person used to be able to do so.
When forced to use the toilet, he or she will perform a detailed cleaning procedure such as cleaning the toilet seat followed by cleaning the toilet door handles. The cognitive theory focus on how OCD’s victims misinterpret their thoughts. OCD’s victims tend to exaggerate undesirable thoughts and acknowledge them as real threats, causing high level of anxiety. OCD is very time-consuming as most of the times are spend on the obsessions and compulsions. It also caused poor quality life due to its ruling most of its victims’ lives and brings troubles to family members and peers. OCD affected people grouped under different categories differently.
Washers often suffered from dry, raw and sensitive skin due to repetitive hand-washing or bathing for long hours due to the fear of contamination. For some, they are also unable to do simple things like shaking other people hands for fear of triggering OCD. Checkers spend most of their times rechecking things that spell danger to them for numerous times. For examples, things such as whether the door is locked or whether the oven is turned off. Doubters and Sinners are people afraid of being punished or having terrible things happening to them if they are have not done things perfectly or right.
Counters& Arrangers are superstitions about certain numbers, arrangement and are obsessed with order. For example, a person is superstitious of the number 12; he or she would do things such as having exactly 12 gram of fats or sugar per day. Or they would spend hours of time making sure that everything in their house is in the correct arrangement before leaving the house. Lastly, Hoarders are people who fear something bad would happen to them if they throw anything away hence they would hoard things that are useless to them. To conclude, OCD is difficult to get rid of but still able to cure by 100%.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy and self-help tips are examples used to cure OCD. Cognitive-behavioural therapy involves refraining from performing compulsions after repeated exposure to the source of the obsession. It helps in learning that anxiety can be overcome without rituals and to gain control over the obsessions and compulsions. Self-help tips like doing things such as reading or listening to music for at least 15 minutes whenever OCD thoughts occur can help in delaying your response toward the obsession or compulsions, improving the OCD’s condition.
January 9, 2018
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