Thursday, June 23, 2022

Avoidance Conditioning and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    Avoidance conditioning is characterized by the development of behavior(s) that delays or prevents adverse input. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder identified by recurrent thoughts, urges, and/or behaviors that are carried out in response to obsessions. When taken as a whole, avoidance conditioning can have a significant impact on obsessive-compulsive disorders, where obsessions cause anxiety to rise and can be relieved by engaging in compulsive behavior or avoidance.

    This topic intrigued me because, the further I read, the more I related. Personally, I consider myself to be someone who feels the need to be in control of situations at all times, more often than not putting 100% of the responsibility on myself because otherwise I feel overwhelmingly anxious and, frankly, out of control. Although at times I feel that this has worked in my favor in certain situations such as planning events, carrying out school projects, etc., it also has caused a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety due to constant overthinking and obsession. On the note of avoidance, when I fear I am not in control of a situation, I tend to completely remove myself from it, or remain in it, although with constant anxiety. For me, it is one of two extremes: all or nothing. According to the text, “people with OCD also have a tendency to feel personally responsible for events that are highly improbable. They therefore carry out various safety actions, such as rechecking doors and stoves, that other people would not bother with” (Powell et al., 2017). Something that I found very interesting was the difference in how people with OCD and without OCD handle intrusive thoughts. I, for example, have a million thoughts running through my head constantly, and I easily let them consume me. As a result, I find myself trying so hard to control my thoughts that I cause myself even more stress. Therefore, finding out that this is not something standard is a bit difficult to grasp. The video below really helps analyze experiential avoidance and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2017). Introduction to Learning and Behavior (5th

    ed.). Cengage Learning. 

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