Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


anxiety, anticipatory tension or vague dread persisting in the absence of a specific threat. In contrast to fear, which is a realistic reaction to actual danger, anxiety is generally related to an unconscious threat. Physiological symptoms of anxiety include increases in pulse rate and blood pressure, accelerated breathing rates, perspiration, muscular tension, dryness of the mouth, and diarrhea. Freud postulated that anxiety was a result of repressed, pent-up sexual energy, but later came to view it as a danger signal alerting the ego to excessive stimulation and causing repression. Anxiety disorders include observable, overt anxiety, as well as phobias and other conditions where a defense mechanism has been set up to disguise the anxiety from both the sufferer and the observer. In generalized anxiety, the individual experiences long-term anxiety with no explanation for its cause; such a condition may be called free-floating, since it is not linked to a specific stimulus. Panic disorder involves sudden anxiety attacks which are manifested in heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or fainting. The individual with a phobic disorder can identify the stimulus that causes anxiety: such stimuli as enclosed space, heights, and crowds become imbued with greatly exaggerated anxiety and are carefully avoided by the phobic individual. Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) are characterized by obsessions (mental quandries) and compulsions (physical actions) that engage the individual excessively. Extreme anxiety may be experienced if the person does not carry out the compulsion or attempts to ignore the obsession. Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when an individual has recurrent dreams, flashbacks, or panic attacks after a particularly traumatic experience.

See D. F. Klein, Anxiety (1987); D. H. Barlow, Anxiety and Its Disorders (1988); S. J. Rachman, Fear and Courage (1990).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Mario Maj; Norman Sartorius; Ahmed Okasha; Joseph Zohar.
Wiley, 2002
Obsession: A History
Lennard J. Davis.
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Ross G. Menzies; Padmal De Silva.
Wiley, 2003
Washing My Life Away: Surviving Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Ruth Deane.
Jessica Kingsley, 2005
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Practical Guide
Naomi Fineberg; Donatella Marazziti; Dan J. Stein.
Martin Dunitz, 2001
Evidence-Based Treatment for Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Brauer, Lindsay; Lewin, Adam B.; Storch, Eric A.
The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, Vol. 48, No. 4, October 1, 2011
Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders: A Review of the Evidence-Based Treatments
Ravindran, Arun V.; da Silva, Tricia L.; Ravindran, Lakshmi N.; Richter, Margaret A.; Rector, Neil A.
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 54, No. 5, May 2009
Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Broader Framework
Doron, Guy; Moulding, Richard.
The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, Vol. 46, No. 4, October 1, 2009
How Are Dysfunctional Beliefs Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms?
Taylor, Steven; Coles, Meredith E.; Abramowitz, Jonathan S.; Wu, Kevin D.; Olatunji, Bunmi O.; Timpano, Kiara R.; McKay, Dean; Kim, Se-Kang; Carmin, Cheryl; Tolin, David F.
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Vol. 24, No. 3, October 1, 2010
Parenting and Obsessive Compulsive Symptoms: Implications of Authoritarian Parenting
Timpano, Kiara R.; Keough, Meghan E.; Mahaffey, Brittain; Schmidt, Norman B.; Abramowitz, Jonathan.
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Vol. 24, No. 3, October 1, 2010
"We Do Not See Things as They Are, We See Them as We Are": A Multidimensional Worldview Model of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Doron, Guy; Kyrios, Michael; Moulding, Richard; Nedeljkovic, Maja; Bhar, Sunil.
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Vol. 21, No. 3, January 1, 2007
Phobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A Clinician's Guide to Effective Psychosocial and Pharmacological Interventions
Thomas H. Ollendick; John S. March.
Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder"
Mental Health Handbook for Schools
Mary Atkinson; Garry Hornby.
Routledge/Falmer, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder"
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