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OCD - Common Types of Compulsive Behaviors - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe some of the most common types of compulsive behaviors associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - click here.

The definitive signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or “OCD” are obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Even though only one of them is required to diagnose OCD, over 90% of OCD patients experience both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Compulsive behaviors are the obsessed mind’s solution to horrific thoughts and fears.

They act as the release valve and allow some short respite from the overwhelming anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Compulsive behaviors or rituals can be either physical or mental actions and must be performed fully before the mind feels any relief. Many OCD patients are unable to work or even leave their homes due to their obsessive thoughts and their need to perform rituals to relieve their anxious minds.

Although uncertainty and worry are common to many anxiety disorders, OCD is the only anxiety disorder that causes patients to doubt themselves constantly. Maybe they didn’t perform the ritual correctly, maybe they forgot to complete the ritual on schedule, or maybe their eyes or their minds are deceiving them entirely. They become completely lost in the loop of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, and they often lose themselves completely to the cycle.

Here are some of the most common types of compulsive behaviors or rituals:

  • Repeatedly checking locks or appliances to make sure they are turned off
  • Excessive or ritualized washing
  • Hoarding behavior
  • Keeping objects in specific locations, orders, or patterns
  • Confessing to others
  • Asking for reassurance
  • Obsessive counting
  • Reciting words, phrases, or prayers

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be a very serious condition. If you think someone you know may experience OCD, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.


“Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders” by Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J.F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn

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