Mental disorders affect the health and well-being of individuals. They alter their behavior so that individuals have difficulty in performing mundane tasks. It is made worse by the stigma attached to people who seek medical attention regarding mental health and its associated disorders. Studies have shown that it is essential for people to have more in-depth knowledge and understanding of mental disorders. This paper draws attention to obsessive-compulsive behavior and highlights its symptoms and treatment. The findings from the literature review on obsessive-compulsive disorder indicate that the disorder has a range of symptoms that can be treated and managed. Additionally, the paper provides recommendations for further research to be conducted on mental disorders to expand on the body of knowledge.
Mental disorders are the behavioral changes that alter the pattern and behavior of individuals, so the extent that their functioning is impaired (Bolton, 2008). These patterns of behavior result in significant discomfort and distress, affecting the regular operation of an individual. While some of these altered behavior patterns are minimal, others can be quite severe, even resulting in death if not properly managed. Nonetheless, patterns of behavior vary from disorder to disorder, and they are categorized according to the symptoms they manifest. It is also important to note that these altered patterns of behavior occur at different intervals. This essay is going to highlight on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), its symptoms, and treatment. Furthermore, it will provide the reader with an in-depth analysis of OCD so that they can have a more profound understanding of the subject matter and lay the ground for further research on the same.
The diagnosis of mental disorders is based on the patterns of behavior that work to alter how one reasons and perceives feelings. Furthermore, social, cultural, and religious norms have a hand in mental disorders, and as such, these considerations are customarily factored in during diagnosis (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). It is from this determination that the patients get access to proper treatment to control and manage their conditions. Medical practitioners and other relevant stakeholders use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to establish standard procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and other activities related to mental health (Kendell and Jablensky, 2003).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), just like other mental disorders, manifests itself by altering the behavior of the individual. With OCD, this changed behavior demonstrates itself with an increase in routines that are repeated over some time. Such forms of practice are known as compulsions, where the individual feels inclined to perform specific tasks over and over again (Storch et al., 2008). In addition to compulsions, individuals also have thoughts that repeatedly occur over given subject areas. Such manifestations of OCD are referred to as obsessions (Markarian, 2010).
According to Conelea et al. (2014), compulsive patterns of behavior occur in a significant number of the population where people are accustomed to performing specific tasks based on the explanation that they have to. The involuntary actions find themselves dominating the individual’s behaviors to such an extent that failure to perform such tasks repeatedly would result in severe irritation. Compulsive behaviors are also explained as ways of reconciling other dreaded results individuals feels will surely happen if they fail to act accordingly (Boyd, 2007). Individuals will be drawn towards certain behaviorism because they think that deviating from that will have catastrophic consequences for them and those around them. For example, people will arrange napkins in public restaurants because they believe that it only through such actions that their food will be served right. When one is prevented from arranging napkins in a particular pattern, they might take extreme activities that are not limited to aggressive or violent behavior. Additionally, compulsive behaviors thoroughly inhibit the productivity of such individuals in different roles.
Recurring thoughts under obsessions occur over and occur even after the individuals try to ignore them (Markarian, 2010). These thoughts are thus involuntary and tend to happen when the individual is confronted or finds themselves in situations that stimulate and inhibit such ideas. A trip to the mortuary may trigger thoughts about death that are obsessive. Just like with compulsions, obsessive thoughts are also ways of dealing with anxiety. Intrusive thoughts tend to occur when presented with certain conditions (Osgood-Hynes, 2006). For example, people with obsessive sexual thoughts will be more inclined towards such behavior when they see or come into contact with people that trigger the feelings. OCD makes these patterns of thought bear more significance that they cannot be ignored. Obsessive thoughts usually are distressing because they distort perceptions of reality, they have great ability to interfere with the well-being of the individual, thus affecting how they even relate with those next to them (Doron, 2013).
Signs and symptoms of OCD vary in that they can manifest themselves as groups while others are unique to individuals. According to Strorch et al. (2010), Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale is used to assess the nature of symptoms before arriving at a diagnosis. The symptoms are divided into four, depending on how they manifest in the individual pattern of behavior. Symmetry factor encompasses all those signs and symptoms that relate to behavior that connects to uniformity, balance, and consistency. The forbidden thoughts factor is associated with upsetting thoughts and behavior on a wide range of subjects such as religion, explicit, intimacy, among others. The hoarding factor involves the difficulty in disposing of items brought about by a strong need to save and hold onto them, which then results in the accumulation of objects. When the individual faces the task of discarding his or her things, they exhibit great distress that their behavior (Bloch et al., 2008). Cleaning factor symptoms are related to hygiene and contamination where individuals resort to repetitive behavior such as washing, brushing, checking body parts as well as avoiding body contact as a way of preventing contact with contamination. From these signs and symptoms, medical practitioners are best positioned to arrive at a diagnosis, which further aids in treatment. According to McKay et al. (2004), the response to treatment differs in the symptom factors so that while some are more responsive to treatment, others take a longer time to respond.
After the diagnosis, the next step is treatment, where the patients are put through a wide range of treatment procedures based on the diagnosis to manage their condition better. Therapy is one method of treatment where patients are taken through routines that they can incorporate in their habits to best deal with those scenarios that trigger them to behave otherwise. Medical practitioners argue that through exposure to such situations, patients can develop responsive mechanisms geared towards preventing the occurrence of compulsions and obsessions. The goal of therapy is to develop long-term responses through which the patient develops refrain from any obsessive and compulsive behavior (Abramowitz et al., 2011).
Medication is another method of treatment where patients are prescribed drugs that they take under clear and specific instructions. The prescriptions depend on the nature and scale of the OCD on the patients so that stronger doses are recommended for patients that have severe instances of OCD. Furthermore, children and adults have different dosage requirements, either for short-term or long-term treatment (Grant 2014). Due to the nature of side effects associated with medication, patients are under constant review to ensure they do not develop other psychiatric issues.
Developments in the study of OCD have facilitated the availability of knowledge useful in the diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of the disorder. Previously, OCD diagnosis was viewed as life sentences that people could not recover. However, the condition is now manageable to the extent that people can actively participate in other areas of life without interference. Moreover, conducting further studies on mental disorders is a crucial step in understanding the nature of such ailments, thus eliminates instances of stigma. The limitations of such a research undertaking would be the reluctant participants unwilling to share information due to stigma. By accepting that mental disorders are typical and can affect anyone, then it will be possible to gather much-needed information. Pharmaceutical companies need to spend time on research to develop drugs that have little or no side effects.
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