19-year-old Alexis is a student at Texas A&M University. She is currently enrolled in Psychology 2301 and is having trouble in class. She tells us that she is having trouble concentrating on the lessons that are being taught in class because she is constantly worried about different things that are running through her head. For instance, she often wonders if she remembered to lock the door when she left this morning, or if everything is in its proper place. Her professor notices her lack of concentration and, after a discussion with Alexis, suggests that she visit a psychiatrist. Upon her visit to the psychiatrist and after several tests, she is diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
What once was thought to be a rare disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the 4th most common out of any mental disorder. About 1 in every 200 adults suffer from OCD, and twice as many have had it at one point or another in their lives (www.understanding_OCD.tripod.com). OCD generally begins to reveal symptoms between the ages of 6 and 15 for males, and 20-29 for females, though research has shown that OCD can start in early childhood, and even in the pre-school years. Many people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tend to try and ignore the symptoms, not seeking professional help. .
There are many common symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These symptoms are generally broken down into two main categories. The first of the two is obsession. Webster's Dictionary defines obsession as "a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often-unreasonable idea or feeling." When a person has OCD, these uncomfortable ideas and feelings are uncontrollable and quickly become an everyday annoyance. Common obsessions include: fear of dirt or germs, disgust with bodily waste or fluids, concern with order, symmetry and exactness, worry that a task has been done poorly even though it has been, fears of thinking or saying evil or sinful things, and even fear of harming a family member or friend (www.