Thursday, June 29, 2006

Into the DSM-IV – OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety related disorder that is marked by recurrent obsessions and compulsions that persist for more than one hour daily. Moreover, these obsessions and compulsions cause significant amounts of distress or impairment in daily functioning.

Obsessions consist of the repetition of distressing thoughts, impulses, ideas or images.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that are intended to quell the anxiety of the obsession.

Risk factors

  • Having a history of eating disorders in first degree relatives
  • Having another mental disorder (OCD is comorbid in over 50% of cases)
  • Being biologically pre-disposed to the condition
  • Having a reduced rate of serotonin (persons who suffer with OCD have difficulty entering REM sleep)

Theoretical risk factors

  • Psychodynamics – the person is stuck in the anal stage of development seeking rigidity and over control
  • Learning theory – the person plays out classical and operant conditioning and negative reinforcement
  • Family Systems – OCD develops to serve as a function of the family.

Protective Factors

  • The development of better diagnostic categories to capture a better understanding of the disorder in adolescence
  • Better education of family members in order to better recognize and monitor OCD inclinations.

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