Sample Nursing Article Review on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Every person is occasionally affected by obsessions that usually cause distress or fretfulness in his/her minds. The main features of OCD are having obsessions or compulsions, which can appear individually or simultaneously, but the outcomes of the ailment tend to be the same across cultures. Obsessions are persistent thoughts and urges while compulsions are rhythmic and recurring, and usually drive individuals toward restraining obsessions. Numerous forms of psychotherapy have been identified to control OCD, but exposure-response-prevention therapy has a strong support from various clinical officers.  An accurate diagnosis of OCD is paramount because OCD can destroy an individual’s capacity to undertake his/her duties, if left untreated.

Defining Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) incorporates anxiety disorder where people experience unwanted and recurring thoughts, as well as sensations that drive them to act opposite to resist the urges. In their article “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,” Solomon and Grant (2014) termed OCD as “a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by obsessions or compulsions (or both) that are distressing, time-consuming, or substantially impairing” (p. 646). Individuals with OCD experience unstable levels of insight and poor perception. Individuals without OCD know that intrusive thoughts are absurd and thrust them away, but OCD patients equate thoughts with actions (Perese, 2012). Compulsive behavior aims at reducing anxiety or thwarting feared outcome.

To recognize a person with OCD, obsessive thoughts must be recorded for at least one hour each day. OCD affects both male and female adults equally, but the real cause of OCD has remained vague. An estimated 45 to 65% of children suffer from the disorder through inheritance with only 27 to 47% of adolescents and adults contract the disease from the same (Solomon & Grant, 2014). Hyperactivity in the brain structures may cause OCD while some parts of the brain may indicate deficit in cognitive capabilities. Other symptoms of OCD include recurrent violent images, fear of doing things erroneously, avoiding people for no apparent reasons, ordering and rearranging things, and asking forgiveness.

Sometimes nurses may misdiagnose OCD as anxiety or depression; hence, patients who are suspected to be suffering from OCD should be tested for accuracy in obsessive beliefs. Depressed people usually meditate, making them seem like they are obsessed while anxiety disorders may be exhibited through worrying and thinking about real-life issues such as health, finances, and love life. An individual exposed to stressful situations elicits anxiety, agitation, and uneasiness, and may try to avoid such feelings, which led to fear and anxiousness (Perese, 2012). Psychotic disorder is also a form of misconception of OCD where patients demonstrate delusional beliefs.

Managing OCD

Numerous types of therapy exist to manage OCD, but exposure-and-response-prevention therapy has strong support from nurses due to its capacity to offer strict self-restraint from compulsive behavior. This type of therapy involves exposing patients to fear-eliciting stimuli, in addition to strictly abstaining from compulsive behaviors. Such stimuli are released in a hierarchical mode. This practice enables patients to minimize the fear response and to realize that the anxiety can sink naturally without attempts to avoid it. Another form of OCD management is cognitive therapy where patients are taught how to recognize and rectify their dysfunctional belief concerning feared situations. Cognitive therapy is essential for reducing anxiety among OCD patients, as they are shown how to identify habitual an impracticable thinking. Cognitive therapy does not focus on reducing anxiety, but rather confront the conviction that drives patients to become compulsive.

Pharmacotherapy is a form of treatment where drugs such as paroxetine, fluvoxamine, and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) are utilized to relieve anxiety and depressive indicators (Perese, 2012). SSRIs are largely recommended due to their higher adverse-event profile and high response among OCD patients. People who are incapable of engaging in exposure therapy are recommended to use SSRIs as monotherapy. However, SSRIs have serious adverse event where children and adults below 25 years may experience increased suicidal thoughts when taking the antidepressant. Deep-brain therapy stimulation is suitable for patients experiencing severe OCD, but this form of OCD management is offered as the last-resort, as only a few patients are permitted to undergo such treatment.

Uncertainties may result from the management of OCD, as most therapies do not focus on long-term goals. Tests for OCD medication have been short-term as data is still lacking for long-term benefits and risks, particularly to children and the elderly. The predisposing factors for OCD are also not entirely understood. Thus, a higher level of understanding is required concerning childhood risk factors in order to develop early-intervention strategies to OCD. Clinicians have focused on treating the major symptoms of OCD, but appropriate treatments for associated social dysfunctions are necessary.

Conclusion and Recommendation

OCD is a psychiatric disorder that encourages unwanted thoughts that makes a person feel embarrassed and pushed to do something. When evaluating individuals with OCD, healthcare professionals need to investigate the hidden distress, as well as disability that are usually linked to OCD by offering relevant information whenever necessary. Clinicians are requested to educate patients on the nature of the disease, which include low occurrence of spontaneous improvement, but high chances of responsiveness to treatment. Patients should also be informed of the possible length of therapy, in addition to the side effects of the medication.


Perese, E. F. (2012). Psychiatric advanced practice nursing: A biopsychosocial foundation for practice. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Co.

Solomon, C. G., & Grant, J. E. (2014). Obsessive-compulsive disorder. The New England Journal of Medicine, 371(7), 646-653. Retrieved from