Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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Obsessive-compulsive disorders are a relatively well-defined group of conditions with some overlap with the anxiety states. Obsessions are repetitive thoughts that the individual does not want and tries to rid him or herself of. By contrast with some psychotic ("passivity") phenomena the thoughts are recognised as the individual's own. The element of resistance is essential to the diagnosis, and this is often accompanied by considerable distress. Compulsions are similar phenomena in the motor field eg door lock checking, hand washing and counting rituals, Each of these conditions is generally long-lasting, sometimes over a lifetime leading to the suspicion that the symptoms are somehow related to personality structure. A striking concomitant is difficulty in taking decisions.
Because they involve thoughts, and thoughts need to be put into words, and may necessarily be verbal, such phenomena cannot be reliably detected im other species. Repetitive behaviors can be observed and are often a consequence of captivity and confinement, But equally whether such behaviors have the same subjective accompaniments and symbolic significance cannot be determined.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders occur in all societies, probably at about the same frequency. They overlap with depressive/anxiety disorders on the one hand, and eating disorders on the other.
The defining characteristic obsessive-compulsive disorders is that the source of the action is the patient's own, and that he tries to resist the repetition, but fails to do so. Because they lack language other primates cannot be shown to have similar phenomena, although they can be observed to engage in ritualistic behaviour.
As far as can be ascertained obsessive-compulsive disorders occur in all human populations, probably at about the same incidence.
Possession of language
Speciation events between the common ape-hominin precursor and modern Homo sapiens.
The occurrence of these phenomena add to our knowledge of the structure of language
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