Clinical Characteristics of OCD

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  • Clinical Characteristics of OCD
    • Obsessions
      • Recurrent, intrusive and persistent thoughts, ideas, images and impulses.
        • These are normally grouped into categories: Dirt and contamination, aggression, orderliness, illness, sex and religion.
        • These are found to be distressing and cause anxiety and therefore are neutralised with some form of action.
        • People with OCD know these obsessions are from their own minds unlike schizophrenic patients.
        • Patients know these obsessions are unreasonable as they are time-consuming and interrupt with every day life.
    • Compulsions
      • Excessive, irresistible, repetitive physical or mental actions that people feel compelled to carry out.
        • Performed in response to an obsession.
          • Their function is to; reduce personal distress and prevent some objectively unlikely event.
          • Common rituals: Checking, cleaning, counting rituals and dressing rituals. Failure to carry these out will cause anxiety.
          • Sufferers also realise that the compulsions are unreasonable.
            • Problematic because; may be harmful, interfere with everyday life and sufferers are also tend to be secretive.
    • Physiological
      • Involuntary physiological responses such as dry mouth, tensed muscles and perspiration.
    • Behavioural
      • Freeze or run away.
    • Emotional
      • Panic and alarm, drained and overwhelmed.
    • Demographic
      • Seems to occur equally in men and women.
    • Incidence and prevalence
      • Affects 1-3% of the population occurring equally in people of different ethnicities and races.
    • Course
      • Onset is usually in adolescence or adulthood although it can begin in childhood. Some people develop symptoms fairly quickly. 30% of cases have no clear triggers.
    • Prognosis
      • 30% of patients improve considerably  in response to some kind of treatment, 40% show moderate improvement and 30% do not considerably recover.
      • About 30% of patients also have depression and suicide can be a risk.


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