Describe and Discuss Two Explanations of Ocd. Refer to Evidence in Your Answer.

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Describe and discuss two explanations of OCD. Refer to evidence in your answer. (10 marks) One explanation of OCD is the cognitive explanation. People who suffer from OCD have obsessive thoughts that cause severe anxiety. They have a cognitive bias that can make them ‘hypervigilant’ when attending to environmental stimuli. Unlike most people, OCD sufferers cannot banish unwanted thoughts, and the thoughts and images become ever more vivid and intolerable. One factor of the cognitive explanation of OCD is lack of confidence in memory. Lack of confidence in memory means the person forgets the compulsive behaviours they have already carried out. This means their anxiety levels increase, so they keep repeating the compulsive behaviour to reduce anxiety. Trevidi (1996) found people suffering with OCD had low confidence in their own memory. Their non-verbal memory is impaired, although their verbal memory was normal. This maintains OCD because the person is constantly repeating the compulsive behaviours, lowering their anxiety, making it more likely that this behaviour will be shown again in the future. This is then acting as a negative reinforcement. Another cognitive factor of OCD are the intrusive and obsessive catastrophic thoughts the sufferers has. This means that the sufferer exaggerates the threat of their fear and the danger they are really in. Rachman (2004) shows this in his case study where his patient has catastrophic thoughts about the probability of harm coming from even a small plaster from someone else. Because of this fear of diseases, she thinks that she could get AIDS from a small speck of blood on others. These catastrophic thoughts will help maintain OCD because there are exaggerations of the danger they are in, causing them to constantly act upon them. The cognitive explanation helps to explain how OCD is maintained, e.g. hypervigilance,

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