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What Is Compulsion In Psychology

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What Psychological Approaches Are Used To Treat Ocd

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessions, Triggers, and Treatment | Mass General Brigham

Since the early 1970s research has shown that behaviour therapy is the most effective treatment for most types of OCD. It involves experiencing the fearful situations that trigger the obsession and taking steps to prevent the compulsive behaviours or rituals .

These studies have shown that 76% of individuals who complete treatment will show significant and lasting reductions in their obsessive and compulsive symptoms.

When measured against other treatment approaches such as medication, behaviour therapy most often produces stronger and more lasting improvement. In fact, there may be little advantage to combining behaviour therapy and medication given the strong effects of the psychological treatment.

However, up to 20% of people with OCD will refuse behaviour therapy or drop out of treatment prematurely. One of the main reasons for this is a reluctance to endure some discomfort that is involved in exposure to fearful situations.

More recently, psychologists have been adding cognitive interventions to the behaviour therapy treatments involving exposure and response prevention. Referred to as cognitive behaviour therapy , this approach helps people change their thoughts and beliefs that may be reinforcing obsessive and compulsive symptoms and can help individuals feel less fearful of exposure and response prevention exercises. Also, the cognitive interventions can be particularly helpful if you are mainly struggling with obsessions, rather than compulsions.

How Is Maladaptive Behavior Similar To Repetitive Compulsion

Maladaptive behavior and repetitive compulsion are actually very similar. This behavior prevents you from adjusting or adapting to a new situation. People usually experience it after a traumatic event, extreme illness, or significant changes in your life. It could also be a habit you developed over time, but it can be worked through like repetitive compulsion.

Where Do I Go For More Information

The following websites provide useful information on OCD:

  • Anxiety Canada at
  • OCD-UK at .

Other helpful resources include:

  • Purdon, C., & Clark, D.A. . Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts: How to Gain Control of your OCD. New Harbinger Publications.
  • Baer, L. . Getting control: Overcoming your obsessions and compulsions . Plume.De Silva, P. & Rachman, S. . Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Facts. Oxford University Press.
  • Foa, E. B., Yadin, E., & Lichner, T. K. . Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Therapist Guide .Oxford University Press
  • Steketee, G., & White, K. . When Once is not Enough: Help for Obsessive Compulsives. New Harbinger Publications.
  • Munford, P.R. . Overcoming compulsive checking: Free your mind from OCD. New Harbinger Publications.
  • Munford, P.R. . Overcoming compulsive washing: Free your mind from OCD. New Harbinger Publications.
  • Abramowitz, J.S. . Getting over OCD: A 10-step workbook for taking back your life. Guilford Press.
  • Challacombe, F., Oldfield, V.B., & Salkovskis, P. . Break free from OCD: Overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder with CBT.
  • Grayson, J. . Freedom from obsessive-compulsive disorder: A personalized recovery program for living with uncertainty . Berkley Publishing Group.
  • Winston, S. M., & Seif, M. N. . Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts. New Harbinger Publications.

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What Do Obsessions And Compulsions Have In Common

Common obsessions and compulsions that many are familiar with include the fear of germs and sickness, constant hand washing, using bleach wipes to handle everyday objects that other people have touched, and an overwhelming compulsion to clean and possibly hoard.

What is an obsession and what is a compulsion?

Obsessions are the unwanted thoughts and ideas that preoccupy a persons mind whereas compulsions are the repeated behaviors. This is the main difference between obsession and compulsion. These obsessions and compulsions can interfere in ones daily life and reduce the quality of life.

What are examples of compulsive habits?

Washing hands excessively

  • Checking lights and door locks multiple times
  • Excessively checking that a loved one is safe
  • Looking for patterns in words or numbers
  • Repeating phrases or prayers
  • Counting and needing to end on a good number or word
  • Repeating a specific body movement multiple times
  • Examples Of Repetition Compulsion

    OCD Is Not What You Think It Is

    Repetition compulsion can occur in many situations, often when there is a trauma that keeps being repeated. Some examples of repetition compulsion include:

    • Someone who has experienced abuse as a child who goes on to have adult relationships which are abusive.

    • Someone who experienced violence in their childhood is more likely to become perpetrators of violence later in life.

    • Someone with posttraumatic stress disorder having recurring dreams of the traumatic experience.

    • Someone who had an emotionally distant parent or caregiver goes on to have adult relationships with people who are also emotionally distant.

    • When feeling anxious, an individual turns to their favourite movie or TV show and watches it over and over.

    • After being the victim of a crime, someone may seek out horror movies or watch a lot of crime documentaries to re-experience similar feelings.

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    What Causes Repetition Compulsion

    There is no concrete answer as to what causes repetition compulsion, but there are lots of theories. One reason why people seek to recreate the past is an unconscious desire to change the original outcome. For instance, if you grew up with a distant father, you may find yourself drawn to distant partners as an adult. And much like when you were a child, youll put pressure on yourself to change your behavior in hopes of turning a negative relationship into a positive one, even though its not your responsibility to try and accommodate an abusive partner.

    In other cases, changing your established patterns of behavior may trigger intense feelings of anxiety and fear that you would rather avoid. As humans, we truly are creatures of habit even when the habits are bad for us. In a strange way, even mistreatment can feel safer than making a leap into the unknown for a fresh start. Thats because theres comfort in the familiar, even when the familiar is objectively bad.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Ocd1

    • presence of obsessions and/or compulsions
    • obsessions and compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming, or significantly interfere in daily activities
    • the content of the obsessions and compulsions is not restricted to concerns associated with another psychological disturbance such as the preoccupation with food in an eating disorder or guilty ruminations in major depression, nor are the symptoms directly caused by the effects of a substance or general medical conditions.

    1 Based on the diagnostic criteria of OCD as found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association .

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    Symptoms Of Ocd Compulsions

    Compulsions can be behavioural or mental . Compulsions are repetitive actions that are often carried out in a special pattern or according to specific rules. Compulsions are usually performed to try and prevent an obsessive fear from happening, to reduce the anxiety the obsessive thought creates, or to make things feel just right.Common compulsions include:

    • excessive hand washing, showering and tooth brushing
    • excessive cleaning and washing of house, household items, food, car and other areas
    • excessive checking of locks, electrical and gas appliances, and other things associated with safety
    • repeating routine activities and actions such as reading, writing, walking, picking up something or opening a door
    • applying rigid rules and patterns to the placement of objects, furniture, books, clothes and other items
    • touching, tapping or moving in a particular way or a certain number of times
    • needing to constantly ask questions or confess to seek reassurance
    • mentally repeating words or numbers a certain number of times, or concentrating on good or safe numbers
    • replacing a bad thought with a good thought.

    Usually compulsions become like rituals they follow specific rules and patterns, and involve constant repetitions. Compulsions give an illusory sense of short-term relief to anxiety. However, they actually reinforce anxiety and make the obsessions seem more real, so that the anxiety soon returns.

    Brain Structure And Functioning

    The 8 Traits of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)

    Imaging studies have shown differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain in patients with OCD. There appears to be a connection between the OCD symptoms and abnormalities in certain areas of the brain, but that connection is not clear. Research is still underway. Understanding the causes will help determine specific, personalized treatments to treat OCD.

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    Is Smoking A Compulsive Behavior

    Both the frequency of tobacco use and level of overall emotional distress correlated positively with the severity of compulsive symptoms. The results are consistent with tobacco use as a form of self-medicating compulsive symptoms, likely through monoamine modulation of orbitofrontal-subcortical circuits.

    Is rumination a compulsion?

    Since rumination is a compulsive behavior, you can treat it as you would any other compulsion. One of the most effective ways to help people resist engaging in compulsions is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy called exposure and response prevention therapy.

    Is OCD a psychopathology?

    This contribution consists of the descriptive psychopathology and epidemiology of obsessivecompulsive disorder . It describes the relationship between obsessions, safety-seeking and avoidance behaviours, compulsions and neutralizing behaviours.

    Obsessions About Causing Accidental Harm

    With this type of obsession, you might worry youll cause an accident or disaster. Some examples include:

    • poisoning someone by using the wrong ingredient or accidentally including a toxic substance when cooking
    • accidentally hitting a person or animal when driving
    • unintentionally leaving the stove on or an appliance plugged in and causing a fire
    • forgetting to lock your home or office, which could be burglarized as a result

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    Repeating Or Arranging Compulsions

    These compulsions might involve doing things a certain number of times or until something looks or feels just right. For example:

    • doing something a specific number of times
    • touching parts of your body multiple times or in a specific order
    • tapping or touching things when you enter and leave a room
    • turning all of a certain object in the same direction
    • arranging things in a specific pattern
    • making body movements, like blinking, a certain number of times

    Other compulsions could include:

    How Is Gambling Disorder Treated

    Millon Theory

    People who compulsively gamble can be treated with individual therapy or support groups, sometimes with the addition of antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or other medications. Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous can be helpful to those who value the structure and community of a 12-step program.

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    Rice Psychology Group Is Here To Help

    The symptoms of OCD can appear to be relatively minor at first, but this doesnt mean you should wait to find the treatment you might need. If you feel as if your thoughts, obsessions or compulsions are negatively impacting your life, Rice Psychology Group can help.

    Dr. Wendy Rice has been certified by the International OCD Foundation and is qualified to treat the condition and its related disorders. She and her team will work diligently to evaluate the issue and provide the most effective treatment possible. Contact our location in Tampa today to get started.

    What Is An Example Of Compulsion In Psychology

    Typically, the individual feels driven or compelled to perform the compulsion to reduce the distress associated with an obsession or to prevent a dreaded event or situation. For example, individuals with an obsession about contamination may wash their hands repetitively until their skin is cracked and bleeding.

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    Psychological Treatments For Ocd

    The most effective psychological treatments for OCD are cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention . Specialist guidelines recommend that if you have OCD where the degree of impairment is mild, you should be offered a minimum of 10 hours with a therapist, or longer if the OCD is more severe .

    CBT is a popular form of talking therapy. CBT therapists understand that what we think and do affects the way we feel. Unlike some other therapies, it is often quite structured. After talking things through so that they can understand your problem, you can expect your therapist to set goals with you so that you both know what you are working towards. At the start of most sessions you will set an agenda together so that you have agreed what that session will concentrate on. OCD specialists have made some recommendations about what high quality CBT for OCD should look like . The most important ingredients include:

    • Focusing on the OCD problem for most of the time in most of the sessions.
    • Working towards collaboratively developed goals which are specific, achievable, and described in terms of what you will do.
    • Explaining how your OCD works and what keeps it going .
    • Therapist-aided exposure where you have an opportunity to test some of your beliefs and to face your fears.
    • Between-session tasks likely to consist of monitoring, exposure, and behavioral experiments.
    • Consistent encouragement to resist your rituals or compulsions.

    What Is The Difference Between Ocd And Ocpd

    What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? | Child Psychology

    Even though they sound similar, obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are different conditions.

    OCPD is a personality disorder that causes an extensive preoccupation with perfectionism, organization and control.

    People with OCD are usually aware that their obsessions and compulsions are problematic and accept that they need professional help to treat the condition. People with OCPD usually dont think theres anything wrong with their behavior and beliefs.

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    What Exactly Are Obsessions And Compulsions

    Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel outside of the persons control. Individuals with OCD do not want to have these thoughts and find them disturbing. In most cases, people with OCD realize that these thoughts are illogical. Obsessions are typically accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, uncertainty and doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is just right. In the context of OCD, obsessions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values. This last part is extremely important to keep in mind as it, in part, determines whether someone has OCD a psychological disorder rather than an obsessive personality trait.

    Obsessing or being obsessed are commonly used terms in everyday language. These more casual uses of the word mean that someone is preoccupied with a topic, an idea, or even a person. To be obsessed in this everyday sense doesnt mean that a person has problems in their day-to-day living there may even be a pleasurable component to their experience of being obsessed. For example, you can be obsessed with a new song you hear on the radio, but you can still meet your friend for dinner, get ready for bed in a timely way, get to work on time in the morning, etc., despite this obsession.

    What Are Examples Of Compulsions

    Common compulsions include excessive cleaning and hand washing repeatedly checking doors, locks, appliances, and such rituals designed to ward off contact with superstitious objects using prayers or chants to prevent bad things from happening arranging and rearranging objects and hoarding huge numbers of ordinary

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    How Can You Stop Repeating Mistakes

    Before you can stop repeating the same mistakes, you must personally acknowledge that youre trapped in a vicious cycle. Once you take this powerful step, youll be ready to seek help for your repetition compulsion. Help may include:

    • Exploring your childhood traumas with a therapist or counselor.
    • Making a real effort to acknowledge and resist pre-existing patterns.
    • Undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy to train your brain to become aware of negative self-talk and other triggers.
    • Learning healthy coping mechanisms to keep you from constantly reliving past traumas.
    • Engaging in mindfulness exercises.
    • Approaching mistakes from a different perspective so you can avoid making the same ones over and over accepting the occasional blunder is the first step in moving forward and acknowledging them as part of your journey.
    • Giving yourself some credit. When you do something right, take a beat to appreciate it and recognize your accomplishments. That feeling of accomplishment may sometimes help you stay on the right path.

    It takes a long time for repetition compulsion to take root in a persons life, so it only makes sense that breaking these negative cycles will take time, too. But with self-reflection, guidance from a professional, and a willingness to explore the reasons behind the patterns in your behavior, you can overcome repetition compulsion and leave toxic relationships behind for good.

    George Santos And The Fascinating Psychology Of Compulsive Liars

    Pin on Mental Institute: Psychology

    Anyone whos taken a passing look at the news lately knows its been a bad week for George Santos. When the 34-year-old representative from New Yorks 3rd congressional district flipped the seat in the November midterms, it was celebrated by Republicans as a rare and significant victory. This was a once-safe Democratic seat, where people voted for Joe Biden by a double-digit margin in 2020. How did Santos do it? As his house of cards comes tumbling down, the answer seems to be: By fictionalizing himself into the perfect candidate.

    Santos now stands accused of lying about the entire contents of his résumé, including where he went to college, and even where he went to high school whether he is married to a man or a woman how his mother died whether his grandmother was in the Holocaust and indeed whether any of his family is actually Jewish and where his money came from. He even seems to have claimed he was running an imaginary animal charity. These alleged lies range from the very serious to the comically absurd, from the personal to the professional, and from the clearly self-serving to the head-scratchingly strange. There is a feeling of compulsion to them.

    Political analysts might have a lot to say about the Santos case but what do psychologists say about people who lie as much as this particular congressman appears to have done?

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