On occasion there are individuals, such as Howard Hughes, who are plagued by intrusive thoughts, ritualistic behaviors, or mental acts in which they feel compelled to entertain. Individuals such as this suffer from a psychological disorder known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). “According to factor analytic research, OC symptoms have been linked to three main dimensions of dysfunctional beliefs: the over importance of and need to control thoughts (ICT), perfectionism and the intolerance of uncertainty (PC), and the inflated responsibility and overestimation of threats (RT).” (Taylor, Afifi, Stein, Asmundson, & Jang, 2010) Two of these dysfunctional beliefs, perfectionism and the overestimation of threats, are seen within Mr.
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The one and only word Mrs. Hughes has Howard spell, followed by an inquisition of knowledge regarding markings on homes of African Americans, Cholera (a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water, and causes severe diarrhea and dehydration), and typhus (a Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia prowazekii bacterial disease spread by lice or fleas). After Howard’s seemingly routine bathing ritual, Mrs. Hughes cups her son’s face, with a visible expression of fear and concern, she tells her son, “You are not safe.” This author can only assume that Howard’s ritualistic bathing routine, and frequent tutelage of diseases resulted in the development of symptoms within the Obsessive-Compulsive spectrum. Based upon this moving display of concern for the safety of her son, this author can only concluded there is a high probability that Mrs. Hughes was a likely source of Howard’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
A second potential etiology for developing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders involves genetic vulnerabilities. There have been numerous genetically based studies involving family, twin, and segregation studies which have led to the conclusion of a strong genetic component involved in obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has become well known that, if a parent or close sibling suffer from OCD, there is an increased risk of a child or another close sibling developing OCD as well. For example, one such study as mentioned by Ozomaro