Read the following passage and mark the letter A, B, C, or D on your answer sheet to indicate the correct answer to each of the questions:
Less than a year ago marketing director, David Smith, 33 was behaving like a secet agent. He used to secretly taped all his conversations, he refused to sign his name and he would ask his secretary to check all his emails. Anything he wrote was photocopied and kept as “evidence”. But David isn’t mad, or even mildly eccertric. He suffers from ‘resposibility OCD’, one of more common form of obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, as it is usually known.
OCD is now recognized as the second most prevalent mental-health problem, after depression – and the number of reported cases is soaring. Experts estimate that 2% - 3% of the population suffer from the full-blown syndrome, with as many as one in five suffering from a milder form.
OCD sufferers are tortured by obsessional thoughts, such as worrying that their hands are contaminated by germs. The terrible anxiety is only relieved by performing a particular set of behaviours. Unfortunately, any sense of relief is short-lived, which is why the behaviour must be repeated again and again. OCD sufferers know their behavior is irrational, yet feel powerless to stop.
Common treatments are either antidepressants or behavioral therapy with a psychologist, but only 60% of patients show some improvement. However, a new treatment from America is bringing fresh hope to sufferers.
One of the OCD gurus and neuropsychiatrists, Jeffrey Schwartz, has designed the Four Steps program which employs meditation teachniques with the aim of teaching sufferers to manage their symptoms by themselves. “The goal is to learn to override false brain messages”, explains Schwartz.
There are different theories about what causes the disorder. Most experts recognize a genetic element that can be triggered by a stressful event. Schwartz believes that the OCD ‘worry circuit’ is a
direct result of faulty brain chemistry. ‘When someone experiences an OCD thought, one part of the brain knows quite clearly that the hand are not dirty’, explains Schwartz ‘Some part of the brain is standing apart from the symptoms, reflecting on the sheer bizarreness of it all. The objective is to harness this impartial spectator so that patients can use this healthy part of their brain to resist the compulsions.’
David Smith is delighted with the results of Schwartz’s treatment. ‘Now I can sign cheques without a problem’, he says brightly. ‘And I don’t photocopy them either. OCD used to feel like a huge stigma, but I don’t feel handicapped by it any more. You just deal with it.’

Why do OCD sufferers repeatedly perform the same action?

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