Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that traps people in endless cycles of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Pierre Janet described obsessive-compulsive disorder by using the term psychasthenia. Sigmund Freud described obsessions and compulsions as psychological defenses used to deal with sexual and aggressive conflicts in the unconscious mind (Bruce Bower: 1987). OCD is also known as “The Doubting Disease,” because it’s as though the mind doesn’t register when the person does a certain action, which triggers the source of the obsession (USA Today:1995). Unlike most people with anxiety disorders, those diagnosed with OCD are more obsessed with what will happen to others instead of themselves (Edna Foa: 1995).
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(USA Today: 1995) The person feels the need to do things correctly and perfectly. Compulsions restore the comfort destroyed by obsessions. Compulsions are done purposefully to satisfy those obsessions. They are overt actions such as checking, cleaning, putting things in order, or repetitive words and actions such as mental rehearsal, silent prayer or counting, repeated demands, or repetition of phrases or sounds. Yielding the compulsions relieves growing tension and anxiety, but usually the relief is temporary. Twenty percent of those with OCD have only obsessions or only compulsions, but eighty percent have both. (USA Today: 1995)
In the early years it was very rare to have obsessive-compulsive disorder. People who had symptoms were embarrassed and ashamed, so they never wanted to receive help. In the 1980’s the National Institute of Mental Health did a survey and it showed that 2-3 percent or about 5 million people have OCD or had it sometime throughout their life. OCD is more common than such mental illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or panic disorder. OCD usually affects those in