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"Compulsive" and "obsessive" have become everyday words. "I'm
compulsive" is how some people describe their need for neatness, punctuality,
and shoes lined up in the closets. "He's so compulsive is shorthand for calling
someone uptight, controlling, and not much fun. "She's obsessed with him" is a
way of saying your friend is hopelessly lovesick. That is not how these words
are used to describe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, a strange and
fascinating sickness of ritual and doubts run wild. OCD can begin suddenly and
is usually seen as a problem as soon as it starts.
Compulsives (a term for patients who mostly ritualize) and obsessives
(those who think of something over and over again) rarely have rituals or
thoughts about nuetral questions or behaviors. What are their rituals about?
There are several possible ways to list symptoms of OCD. All sources agree that
the most common preoccupations are dirt (washing, germs, touching), checking for
safety or closed spaces (closets, doors, drawers, appliances, light switches),
and thoughts, often thoughts about unacceptable violent, sexual, or crude
When the thoughts and rituals of OCD are intense, the victim's work and
home life disintigrate. Obsessions are persistant, senseless, worrisome, and
often times, embarrassing, or frightening thoughts that repeat over and over in
the mind in an endless loop. The automatic nature of these recurant thoughts
makes them difficult for the person to ignore or restrain successfully.
The essence of a Compulsive Personality Disorder is normally found in a
restricted person, who is a perfectionist to a degree that demands that others
to submit to his\her way of doing things. A compulsive personality is also often
indecisive and excessively devoted to work to the exclusion of pleasure. When
pleasure is considered, it is something to be planned and worked for.
Pleasurable activities are usually postponed and sometimes never even enjoyed.
With severe compulsions, endless rituals dominate each day. Compulsions are
incredibly repetitive and seemingly purposeful acts that result from the
obsessions. The person performs certain acts according to certain rules or in a
stereotypical way in order to prevent or avoid unsympathetic consequences.
People with compulsive personalities tend to be excessively moralistic, and
judgmental of themselves and others.
Senseless thoughts that recur over and over
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