Fundamentals_of_Abnormal_Psychology_6e_Ch04

Fundamentals_of_Abnormal_Psychology_6e_Ch04

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Unformatted text preview: o playing a videotape of each event over and over again in his mind, asking himself if he had behaved properly and telling himself that he had done his best, or 12/10/09 11:16:30 AM Anxiety Disorders Certain basic themes run through the thoughts of most people troubled by obsessive thinking (Abramowitz, McKay, & Taylor, 2008). The most common theme appears to be dirt or contamination (Tolin & Meunier, 2008). Other common ones are violence and aggression, orderliness, religion, and sexuality. The prevalence of such themes may vary from culture to culture. Religious obsessions, for example, seem to be more common in cultures or countries with strict moral codes and religious values (Björgvinsson & Hart, 2008). Compulsions are similar to obsessions in many ways. For example, although compulsive behaviors are technically under voluntary control, the people who feel they must do them have little sense of choice in the matter. Most of these individuals recognize that their behavior is unreasonable, but they believe at the same time something terrible will happen if they don’t perform the compulsions. After performing a compulsive act, they usually feel less anxious for a short while. For some people the compulsive acts develop into detailed rituals. They must go through the ritual in exactly the same way every time, according to certain rules. Like obsessions, compulsions take various forms. Cleaning compulsions are very common. Like the woman we heard from earlier, people with these compulsions feel compelled to keep cleaning themselves, their clothing, or their homes. The cleaning may follow ritualistic rules and be repeated dozens or hundreds of times a day. People with checking compulsions check the same items over and over— door locks, gas taps, important papers—to make sure that all is as it should be (Radomsky et al., 2008). Another common compulsion is the constant effort to seek order or balance (Coles & Pietrefesa, 2008). People with this compulsion keep placing certain items (clothing, books, foods) in perfect order in accordance with strict rules. Touching, verbal, and counting compulsions are also common. Although some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder experience obsessions only or compulsions only, most of them experience both (Clark & Guyitt, 2008). In fact, compulsive acts are often a response to obsessive thoughts. One study found that in most cases, compulsions seemed to represent a yielding to obsessive doubts, ideas, or urges (Akhtar et al., 1975). A woman who keeps doubting that her house is secure may yield to that obsessive doubt by repeatedly checking locks and gas jets. Or a man who obsessively fears contamination may yield to that fear by performing cleaning rituals. Many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder worry that they will act out their obsessions. A man with obsessive images of wounded loved ones may worry that he is but a step away from committing murder, or a woman with obsessive urges to yell out in church may worr...
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This note was uploaded on 01/07/2013 for the course PSY 270 taught by Professor Hall during the Spring '05 term at University of Phoenix.

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