Compulsions in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Compulsions are the things you do to reduce your anxiety (compulsions).
Correcting obsessional thoughts - you think alternative “neutralising” thoughts like counting, praying or saying a special word over and over again. It feels as though this prevents bad things from happening. It can also be a way of getting rid of any unpleasant thoughts or pictures that are bothering you.
Rituals - you wash your hands frequently, do things really slowly and carefully, perhaps arrange objects or activities in a particular way. This can take up so much time that it takes ages to go anywhere, or do anything useful.
Checking - your body for contamination, that appliances are switched off, that the house is locked or that your journey route is safe.
Avoidance - of anything that is a reminder of worrying thoughts. You avoid touching particular objects, going to certain places, taking risks or accepting responsibility. For example, you may avoid the kitchen because you know you will find sharp knives there.
Hoarding - of useless and worn out possessions. You just can't throw anything away.
Reassurance - you repeatedly ask others to tell you that everything is alright.
Rituals, checking, avoiding and seeking reassurance will all make you less anxious for a short time - especially if you feel that this might prevent something dreadful from happening. But, every time you do them, you strengthen your belief that they stop bad things from happening. And so you feel more pressure to do them.... and so on.
The compulsions in OCD never give pleasure – they are always felt as an unpleasant demand or burden.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recommended.
There are two types of CBT used to treat OCD - Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Cognitive Therapy (CT) (116).
If you require help and advice Counselling and Psychotherapy may be provided via Skype and FaceTime in the comfort of your home, office or any place of your choice.