PSYC FPX 3110 Assessment 4 Applying the DSM Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

PSYC FPX 3110 Assessment 4 Applying the DSM Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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PSYC FPX 3110 Assessment 4 Applying the DSM Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Student Name

Capella University

PSYC FPX 3110 Abnormal Psychology

Prof. Name


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD, a prevalent psychiatric condition, is characterized by persistent obsessions and compulsions aimed at mitigating the distress induced by these obsessions (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2017). Obsessions are intrusive, irrational thoughts, while compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed to alleviate the anxiety associated with obsessions (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013).


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2017), OCD affects approximately 1.2% of adults in the U.S. and 1 in 100 children. It displays a higher prevalence among females and typically emerges during adolescence, with an average onset age of about 19.5 years. Most cases commence before the age of 35, with onset after this age being rare (NIMH, 2017).

Prominent Figures with OCD

Several notable personalities have openly shared their battles with OCD, including Howie Mandel, Megan Fox, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

The Historical Evolution of OCD

Historically, OCD was linked with religious melancholy in the 17th century, gradually shifting towards medical explanations by the 19th century. In the 20th century, psychological theories gained traction, culminating in OCD’s classification as an anxiety disorder in the DSM-IV in 1994. Subsequent revisions in the DSM-V brought significant alterations to OCD’s classification and related disorders (Stanford Medicine, n.d.).

Theories: Etiology of OCD

Biological Perspective

Biological factors contributing to OCD encompass genetic predispositions, brain dysfunction or neuroplasticity, and abnormalities in neurotransmitter or hormone functioning (Atmaca et al., 2007; Browne et al., 2014).

Psychological Perspective

Psychological theories suggest that OCD may stem from learned behaviors, particularly avoidance learning, and dysfunctional beliefs or appraisals, as posited in the cognitive-behavioral model (Barrera & Norton, 2011; Abramowitz et al., 2018).

Changes in Diagnostic Criteria

In the DSM-IV, OCD was categorized under anxiety disorders, necessitating patients to acknowledge the irrationality of their obsessions or compulsions. However, the DSM-V reclassified OCD under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, emphasizing the presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both, without mandating insight into their irrationality (APA, 2013).

Advancements in OCD Treatment

Effective interventions for OCD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Telehealth CBT, and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) (Hezel & Simpson, 2019; Hooley et al., 2019).

Contributions to Changes in the DSM

Revisions in the DSM aimed to align diagnoses based on shared symptoms, comorbidity, onset, progression, risk factors, and treatment response, reflecting a more nuanced understanding of psychiatric disorders (Leckman et al., 2010; Stein et al., 2010).

Support for Treatment Change

ERP, a cornerstone of OCD therapy, has demonstrated significant efficacy, with two-thirds of patients experiencing improvement and one-third achieving complete remission. Patients often favor ERP over medication due to its enhancement of quality of life and elimination of the need for long-term pharmacotherapy (Hezel & Simpson, 2019).

PSYC FPX 3110 Assessment 4 Applying the DSM Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


The reclassification of OCD in the DSM has facilitated more precise diagnosis and treatment, contributing to its recognition as a highly manageable disorder. Looking forward, ongoing research and advancements in treatment modalities offer promise for further enhancements in OCD management.


Abramowitz, J. S., Blakey, S. M., Reuman, L., & Buchholz, J. L. (2018). New directions in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of OCD: Theory, research, and practice. Behavior Therapy, 49(3), 311-322.

Atmaca, M., Yildirim, H., Ozdemir, H., Tezcan, E., & Poyraz, A. K. (2007). Volumetric MRI study of key brain regions implicated in obsessive–compulsive disorder. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 31(1), 46-52.

Barrera, T. L., & Norton, P. J. (2011). The appraisal of intrusive thoughts in relation to obsessional-compulsive symptoms. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 40(2), 98-110. doi:10.1080/16506073.2010.545072

Browne, H. A., Gair, S. L., Scharf, J. M., & Grice, D. E. (2014). Genetics of obsessive-compulsive disorder and related disorders. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 37(3), 319–335.

Hezel, D. M., & Simpson, H. B. (2019). Exposure and response prevention for obsessive-compulsive disorder: A review and new directions. Indian journal of psychiatry, 61(Suppl 1), S85–S92.

Stanford Medicine. (n.d.). Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Retrieved from [URL]

PSYC FPX 3110 Assessment 4 Applying the DSM Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Stein, D. J., Fineberg, N. A., Bienvenu, O. J., Denys, D., Lochner, C., Nestadt, G., Leckman, J. F., Rauch, S. L., & Phillips, K. A. (2010). Should OCD be classified as an anxiety disorder in DSM-V? Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269), 27(6), 495–506.

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