Differentiating between Obsession and Compulsion

A psychologist based in Boca Raton, Florida, David Steinbok studied at Nova Southeastern University. His practice focuses on emotional disorders and life difficulties for individuals and couples. One of the areas that David Steinbok regularly attends to is obsession and compulsion disorders.

Obsessive-Compulsive disorders (OCD) trigger actions meant to reduce a state of distress or help disperse thoughts, usually for short-term relief. However, obsession and compulsions are different facets, though, in disorder, both co-occur.

Obsessions refer to recurrent thoughts relating to a causative variable or trigger, with a consequence, usually undesirable. Triggers exist in all facets of life and take many forms depending on the type of obsessions. An example is an obsession connected with contamination, where germs, dirt, dust, or grime trigger anxiety and worry. There is also perception obsession, where everything must be in order, whether in tidiness, symmetry, color, or fear of forgetting.

On the other hand, a compulsion is a mental or physical response to an obsession. You feel a need to undertake an action to feed or deter an obsession repeatedly. For example, the fear of contamination may compel you to continually clean and tidy up or rearrange to feed the symmetry obsession.


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