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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 behaviours, 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 behaviour.  

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 function of the 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 behaviour that follows rigid rules in 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.