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Obsessive-compulsive disorder refers to an anxiety disorder characterized by often obsessions and compulsions. The disorder disables the patient to function socially and occupationally due to excess time consumed by symptoms, distress or fear related to the disorder (Menzies & Silva, 2003). The meddling thoughts results in intense anxiety, fear and nervousness that might become behaviors, obsessions and compulsions. OCD takes exists in four forms that are sexual or religious, aggressive obsessions, obsessions of contamination, and hoarding.
Scholars observe that both psychological and biological factors cause OCD. Chemical and brain dysfunction are one of the main causation factors of the disorder. The brain, which controls human behavior and sexuality and bodily excretions and aggressions, has a circuit for conveying information from the orbitofrontal cortex to the thalamus (Rachman & Silva, 2009). Activation of the circuit results in generation of impulses forcing an individual to engage in behavior as a response to the impulse. People suffering the OCD have brains that might take a long time or fail totally to stop or ignore the generation of impulses. As a result, uncontrollable and repetitive behaviors occur. Biologically, Obsession Compulsion Disorder explains the link between contamination and aggression, and the role of the brain in controlling human behavior (Rachman & Silva, 2009). In addition, OCD affected persons have abnormal brain functioning in various sections of the brain circuit as revealed by the neuro-imaging research.
Streptococcal throat infection also causes OCD (Menzies & Silva, 2003). The infection causes the body cells to mistake the healthy cells with the infected cells. The mistaking of the cells results in cellular destruction. Streptococcal infection is highly prevalent among children and aggravates the onset of symptoms of OCD. Depression is also a contributive factor to the development of OCD symptoms since it heightens stress levels. Life stressors such as childhood rape are most likely to increase the susceptibility of developing OCD in adulthood.
The primary treatment of OCD needs to involve behavioral interventions and use of medications. According to American Psychiatric Association, psychodynamic psychotherapy is an efficient approach for managing the symptoms of OCD (Rachman & Silva, 2009).
The behavioral model of preventing and treating OCD deploys ritual prevention and exposure therapy. Mental health professionals perform ritual prevention by helping OCD patients to tolerate extremely longer periods of resistance to the urge of engaging in obsessive behaviours. Exposure therapy involves exposing OCD patient to circumstances that aggravate their desire to engage in obsessive behaviors before deploying behavioral interventions to overcome the compulsion (Rachman & Silva, 2009). Cognitive and behavioral therapy change the negative styles of thinking and behaviours linked to anxiety. According to psychiatrists, exposure therapy is the most efficient treatment for OCD.
Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRRIs) can also treat the disorder (Menzies & Silva, 2003). The medications are for increasing neuro-chemical serotonin levels in the brain. This is because low levels of serotonin typify OCD. The administration of SRRIs increases the levels of serotonin at the brain synapse leading to activation of disengaged cells.
Electroconvulsive therapy and psychosurgery is also used especially where psychotherapy and medication have failed (Menzies & Silva, 2003). Psychosurgery involves making surgical lesions in the brain, and only about 30 per cent of OCD patients benefited from psychosurgery. Psychosurgery might involve deep brain and vague nerve stimulation. Psychosurgery is the last option treatment method of OCD that is currently available (Rachman & Silva, 2009).
In conclusion, there are four types of OCD that are sexual or religious, aggressive obsessions, obsessions of contamination, and hoarding. Chemical and brain dysfunction are one of the main causation factors of the disorder. Life stressors such as childhood rape are most likely to increase the susceptibility of developing OCD in adulthood. The major treatments of OCD are behavioral interventions and use of medications. Other treatments used as a last option include electroconvulsive therapy and psychosurgery.