What is Compulsive? What is Compulsion?

What is compulsion?

Compulsion is one of two components of a obsessive-compulsive disorder; the other component is obsession.

source photo: @obsessivelyeverafter

Compulsion means: Forcing the person to behave in a certain way despite his / her opposite will at the level of consciousness.

In another aspect, we can define the compulsion as: repetitive behavior or mental action that is performed to cope with the discomfort of obsessions.,

Compulsions are generally performed to reduce the discomfort induced by obsession; however, over time, this situation can become uncontrollable and become a problem in itself.

For example:

If a person touches something that is clean but thinks that his/her hand get dirty, that is obsession. If he/she starts washing hands repetedly that’s compulsion.

Thinking that the door is still open. (Even though it’s not)(Obsession). Checking the door multiple times (Compulsion)

Some of the compulsions may be visible behaviors (such as washing hands), while others may occur in the mind (such as counting).

Obsession and compulsion may be in the lives of many people from time to time. Research has shown that ninety percent of normal people sometimes have compelling thoughts similar to those that disturb OCD patients. These thoughts and behaviors are shorter than OCD patients. In order to be able to talk about obsessive compulsive disorder, these thoughts and behaviors must be severe enough to have negative effects on the daily repetition, academic and professional functioning of the person.

What are Compulsion Types?

Compulsions can actually be very varied. However, in the literature of psychology, some subtypes of compulsion are mentioned.

source photo: @obsessivelyeverafter

Control Compulsions


They are considered one of the most common types of compulsion. Doubts may arise as a result of obsessions focused on indecision, doubt and perfection.

Control compulsions can function for people to provide confidence and to prevent catastrophe. For example if you keep the door closed, no burglar will enter the house, and if you check the stove, the house won’t catch on fire. The real problem here is that one cannot feel so confident for what they do. Someone can come back many times by saying, “What if I left the door open!”

Washing Compulsions


Washing compulsions are a kind of compulsion developed to cope with contamination obsession.

A person thinks that he, his surroundings or his belongings are dirty and he and feels responsible for them; to remove the impurities, it may also exhibit behaviors such as repeated washing of hands, bathing, continuous cleaning of households, washing dishes for hours.

Repetition Compulsions

In repetition compulsion, people repeat certain behaviors repeatedly in a certain number or manner. Although these repetitive behaviors provide instant satisfaction, they reinforce obsession in the long run. An example of a repetition compulsion is when a Muslim reads a certain number of prayer, a person locks the door a certain number of times.

Counting Compulsions

Counting certain objects is the basis of counting compulsion. Among the objects that people feel obliged to count are passing cars, shirt buttons. This is one of the mental compulsions.

Ask-Narration Compulsions


It is the repetitive behavior of expressing or telling certain things. “Did I get it right? Tell me again.

Symmetry and Order Compulsions


It is an effort to keep things, objects in a certain order and symmetry and behave in a certain order. In this compulsion, one cannot be comfortable until the objects around him are shaped according to the order in his head. An example of this kind of obsession is correcting the picture on the wall, adjusting the coins to the top of the Atatürk portrait and not stepping on the lines while walking on the road.

Accumulation Compulsions


Individuals buy or collect certain things even though they do not need them, and they cannot assign anything they have. They consistently have more than they need. They can almost collect their belongings in a way that they can turn their houses into garbage houses, which can also be valid for workplaces

How to Treat Compulsion ?


As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, compulsion is one of the components of obsessive compulsive disorder; the other component is obsession. Therefore, we cannot suggest specific treatment for compulsion alone. The goal is to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.

About the Author
Total 60 posts
Sefa Ozer
Sefa Ozer
Currently studying psychology and researching cognitive behavioral therapy. Also have studied comprative literature,interested in gender studies,. Loves helping people playing video games and dancing.
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