Putting It Together: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Stressor Related Disorders

In this module, you covered OCD and related disorders, such as hoarding disorder and trichotillomania. You’ve also reviewed PTSD and other stressor disorders, including attachment disorders. By this point, you should have a basic, yet firm grasp on understanding how each is unique in its presentation of symptoms, how they affect people, and common treatment methods. You also covered a section on various psychological viewpoints of these disorders. Take some time to consider what resonated with you the most. Is there a perspective that you felt closely aligned with your personal beliefs or ideas regarding mental illness? Take a look at some of the popular treatment methods as well: what might be an underlying psychological perspective of a disorder that prompted the research into a now-popular method for treating it? It’s important to take time to reflect on learning and think critically about concepts.

As you reflect on what you’ve gleaned from this module, spend a moment reviewing the disorders discussed in this module:

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): this disorder is characterized by the tendency to experience intrusive and unwanted thoughts and urges (obsession) and/or the need to engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) in response to the unwanted thoughts and urges.
  • body dysmorphic disorder (BDD): this disorder involves an excessive preoccupation with an imagined defect in physical appearance.
  • hoarding disorder (HD): this disorder (also known as “pathological collecting”) is marked by persistent difficulty in parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value or usefulness.
  • trichotillomania: also known as hairpulling disorder or compulsive hairpulling; a psychological disorder characterized by a long-term urge that results in the pulling out of one’s hair.
  • excoriation disorder: an obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder in which symptoms involve the repeated urge or impulse to pick at one’s own skin to the extent that either psychological or physical damage is caused.
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): experiencing a profoundly traumatic event leads to a constellation of symptoms that include intrusive and distressing memories of the event, avoidance of stimuli connected to the event, negative emotional states, feelings of detachment from others, irritability, proneness toward outbursts, hypervigilance, and a tendency to startle easily; these symptoms must occur for at least one month, though often they last much longer. 
  • acute stress disorder (ASD): similar to PTSD, this disorder occurs following a traumatic experience marked by intrusion, negative mood changes, dissociation, avoidance, and changes in arousal. However, it often resolves within one month; if it lasts longer it becomes PTSD. 
  • adjustment disorders (AD): this disorder involves a significant stress response occurring within three months of a stressor and marked by significant impairment but not meeting criteria for other disorders.
  • reactive attachment disorder (RAD): this is a stressor-related disorder caused by social neglect during childhood (meaning a lack of adequate caregiving) that manifests as inhibited, emotionally withdrawn behavior toward adult caregivers.
  • disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED): this stressor-related disorder is caused by childhood neglect and is considered the “uninhibited form” of RAD, which manifests as a lack of inhibitions or externalizing behavior.