OCD Concepts Part 2 – Compulsions

OCD Concepts Part 2 – Compulsions

As discussed in the first part of OCD Concepts there are subtypes of compulsions. We have not included examples here and for good reason: OCD affects everyone differently and there is simply not an example that will pertain to everyone. In fact, examples may prohibit people with OCD from seeking help. We do not want that person to be you, so read on and trust your gut, not OCD:

Checking Compulsions

“To examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy, quality, condition, or to detect the presence of something (Oxford, 2020)”. Checking compulsions include behaviors, mental acts, and feelings.

The frequency, reason (function), and distress are factors we consider when examining checking compulsions.

Contamination Compulsions

“The action or state of making or being made impure by polluting or poisoning.” (Oxford, 2020). As defined here, contamination obsessions are more than dirt and germs. Contamination can include emotions, thoughts, and morality.

Emotional Contamination Compulsions

Concern that you could assume the personality or characteristics of another person.  

Mental Compulsions

Any ritual completed mentally that no one else can see, done to reduce anxiety or distress. Counting is a form of mental ritual, as is praying and repeating a certain phrase.

Neutralizing Compulsions

Done to void an obsession (make it status quo or equal) or to undo the obsession or another behavior.

Repeating Compulsions

Saying again something already said or doing something again. Under this category, one may repeat for a number of different reasons depending on their fear. It is why we look at the function of repetition.

Counting Compulsions

Reciting numbers or determining a total value. Counting compulsions occur mentally or out loud.

Superstitious behaviours

Includes any ritual done for the purpose of preventing an action, event thought, or catastrophic outcome from occurring.

This is not an exhaustive list of compulsions. Any behavior that follows rigid rules in an attempt to reduce in eliminate discomfort is a compulsion.

Compulsions always serve a purpose and it will not be logical. That is ok – it is the nature of OCD.

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Our clinicians are OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) specialists. We understand OCD as it manifests in the pediatric and adult populations, families, schools, and the workplace. We utilize ERP to break the cycle of OCD individually and systemically to help you achieve your goals. Read more about our services.

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