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OCD, Unemployment: Stressors Can Worsen Current Symptoms

By HERWriter
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Long-term unemployment and other major stressful situations can lead to psychological dysfunction and despair.

Studies have shown that “financial strain and loss of personal control lead to depression, impaired functioning and poor health.” The financial issues and loss of control can be caused by unemployment, so job loss can inadvertently cause some mental disorders and psychological and physical issues.

Even after getting another job, there are long-lasting effects due to the initial unemployment. The study said that “this chain of adversity appears stable over a 2-year period, suggesting that even reversible life events such as job loss can have lasting effects on those who experience them.”

The idea that only those who have mental disorders are more prone to losing a job and then suffer more psychological effects is challenged by Richard Price, who also conducted the previous study.

In his introduction, Price said that this idea was challenged by looking at people “who had lost their jobs as a result of mass layoffs and plant closings.” He said that “these people were unlikely to have become unemployed because of mental health problems.”

The people in that study were also found to have more anxiety and depression symptoms than employed persons. They were also three times more likely to “show extreme scores on mental health symptoms” than people with stable jobs.

Since there is evidence for unemployment causing mental disorders in some way, one might wonder what types of mental disorders are possible. The obvious ones are forms of anxiety and depression. However, obsessive compulsive disorder, a form of an anxiety disorder, could be a likely candidate.

Obsessive compulsive disorder, however, is generally thought to have more biological and early environmental causes. In an abnormal psychology textbook, it said that “someone must develop anxiety focused on the possibility of having additional intrusive thoughts.”

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for your recent post on unemployment and OCD. More than 2 million adult Americans suffer from OCD. In an effort to better understand this common disorder, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute is conducting a study to examine possible genetic contributions to OCD. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health.

We are looking for individuals with OCD who would be interested in participating. Participation involves a 2-3 hour interview and a blood/saliva sample for DNA. We also ask that family members (parents or siblings) provide a blood/saliva sample for DNA. Individuals with OCD are compensated $75 for their interview and DNA sample, and family members receive $35 for their DNA sample. Study procedures can take place in the home or at our medical center.

If you would like to help us gain a deeper understanding of OCD, you may contact Columbia University research staff at 212-543-5364 or e-mail CUOCGAS@gmail.com. Confidentiality is assured.

March 3, 2010 - 9:01am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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