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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

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Introduction

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Obsessions are where thoughts and images appear and cannot be controlled in a person. Shafran 1999 believes it is a way of reducing or preventing the anxiety from other sources, maybe future events. They are mainly thoughts or images that include sexual, blasphemous or aggressive elements. Some examples of OCD put forward by Sanavio 1988, may be an impaired control over mental process, which can take the form of repetitive thoughts over some ones death. Concerns of losing control over motor behaviours of killing someone, fear of contamination by germs, as well as checking behaviours, like locked doors are also popular characteristics. Compulsions occur where an action is repeated over and over again in relation to the obsession. Compulsions may be a way of easing the obsessive thoughts that is put forward by the behaviourists, e.g. Shafran 1999 explained how people that have a fear of germ contamination may wash their hands thousands of times every day, even though more damage may be done in the long term. ...read more.

Middle

In this case, the behaviour was associated with the food. This is much like the classical and operant learning theories and the food is the rein forcer. As the behaviourists can explain the reason why obsessive-compulsive disorders persist, the reason why the obsessive thoughts developed in the first place is not covered. The Psychoanalytical view is where they suggest that obsessions serve the purpose of being a defence mechanism. They work by occupying the mind and displacing more threatening thoughts. Laughlin 1967 thinks of obsessions to be 'serving as a more tolerable substitute for subjectively less welcome thought or impulse'. However, factual evidence is hard to collect to support this view. The people suffering from the disorder would not be able to tell us whether or not the theory is correct if they themselves do not know what they are being protected from. It is also argued that intrusive thoughts of killing someone is the worst obsession, so if this was a substitute for a more stressful subject, what could the subject be? ...read more.

Conclusion

As the sufferers supposedly realise their condition, it would not be as hard to get evidence by talking to them. It would become quite reliable data provided the participants answer honestly. The behavioural model also lacks the details to the origin of obsessive thoughts, even though substantial evidence for why compulsive behaviour occurs was given. E.g. Shafran (fear of contamination) and Skinner (Superstitious theory with Pigeons). Working with animals however can cause argument against the fact that they are different to humans, therefore lacking in validity. The Psychoanalytical view had support from Luaghlin with the idea of obsessions to be substitutes for other ideas. What they missed was individual differences. The thought of killing someone may be thought of as the worst obsession but people may have different opinions to what they think is 'the worst' obsession. So maybe killing can be a substitute for something else after all. It is also quite hard to prove the theory by asking the sufferers. ?? ?? ?? ?? 12/10/01 ...read more.

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