Conditions,Complications, and more associated with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Includes personal story.

Essay by ErikaTarynHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2003

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Do you perform unnecessary rituals in your daily routine? Are you afraid to throw anything out? Do you constantly organize and reorganize until you cannot find anything? If so, you may suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? More commonly known as OCD, this disease affects one in forty people, or five million Americans. Although when people think of OCD they picture that Jack Nicholson movie or someone washing their hands too much, the truth is that this disease is serious and can really ruin the lives of those living with it.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is most easily detectable in adolescence, is attributable to excessive brain activity - the use of energy is higher than normal in the orbital cortex which causes the brain to overwork and literally "heat up". An easier way to picture this is to imagine a gate at the orbital cortex (the underneath of the front portion, controlling the thought process) of a normal brain.

When a person without OCD completes a thought the gate will slam shut and the thought will be over, allowing the person to move onto other thoughts. In a person with OCD the gate is unable to close and stays 'locked' open, sending false signals that the thought or action must be completed over and over again. This is called "Brain Lock" because key structures of the brain are locked together, making the person run on 'repeat', similar to a broken record. This then creates 'obsessions' and 'compulsions' (hence, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) which are very difficult to rid yourself of. Obsessions are intrusive,

distressing thoughts and images (mentally) which cause extreme anxiety. This anxiety will lead to compulsions, behaviors performed to ease or get rid of anxieties caused by obsessions.

In many cases the symptoms of OCD...