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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): Diagnosis and interventions

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  1. Introduction
  2. OCD defined
    1. Defining obsessions
    2. Indication of compulsions
  3. What makes OCD different?
  4. Treating OCD
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is defined by the DSM-VI as an anxiety disorder that affects roughly 3 million Americans aged between 18 and 54 years of age. Diagnosis is reached by identifying certain characteristics of behavior, both compulsive and obsessive, and care needs to be taken to ensure that the symptoms present are not attributable to other similar disorders.

Treatments for OCD include behavior modification therapies and in some cases medications although at this time there is no definitive cure for OCD.

[...] The distinguishing features of OCD in comparison with other disorders such as schizophrenia, or Oppositional Defiance Disorder is that the individual affected knows that the behaviors or compulsions are unreasonable, but they still seem powerless to stop this combination thought and action pattern. Research has shown that in many cases the OCD is time consuming and stressful and can interfere with individual normal daily function (APA, 1994). The problems associated with diagnosis of individuals with OCD occur when younger children are referred for diagnosis. [...]


[...] The relaxation techniques are taught to people with OCD in an effort to improve their coping skills when faced with their compulsion or obsession and include tools such as imagery, breathing techniques and muscle relaxation. Their use of these tools is then reinforced when the patient is put into a desensitization situation and they can prove to themselves that they can have some control over their compulsion/obsession (Hooper & Grohol, 2007). Flooding on the other hand is only ever done with patients who are already conversant with relaxation skills and who are confident of being able to use them in especially anxious situations. [...]

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