What Are Your Compulsions?

, Psychologist, liyap.com9.8K reads

Now that you have a completed list of your obsessions, it’s time to take another step towards a better understanding of your OCD. As you already know, compulsions represent actions or rituals that a person struggling with OCD engages in, as a way to reduce the anxiety caused by his/her obsessive thoughts or images.

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Below, you’ll find a list of the most common compulsions that people with OCD may often engage in. Note that some of these behaviors may also be found in people who do not struggle with OCD. The difference comes from those behaviors being compulsive in OCD individuals – you’d like to stop engaging in them, but you are not able to.

Keep in mind that a behavior can be called compulsive only when it’s done in an excessive manner and with the sole purpose of eliminating anxiety. For instance, washing your hands after going to the bathroom is not considered a compulsive behavior, but disinfecting your hands each time you touch something in public use, such as a door or a banknote, would be considered compulsive. If you are unsure whether a behavior is compulsive, consider this – do most people you know engage in it as well? If not, then it might be a compulsion.

Feel free to add to the list any compulsions you believe you engage in, but are not included here.




Handwashing or showering (multiple times a day)



Cleaning, scrubbing, disinfecting, rinsing, etc.



Wearing gloves, masks and other protective gear (except when you’re working in hazardous environments)



Keeping things labeled, coded and in perfect order



Collecting various items (magazines, newspapers, napkins, etc.)



Arranging objects in a certain manner



Tapping or touching things for an exact period or a certain number of times



Eating, drinking, reading, driving, writing, sleeping, walking, etc. in a certain way (with no exceptions)



Dressing in a certain order or manner, every time



Checking electrical appliances, stoves, locks, doors, windows, etc. a certain number of times



Making sure you didn’t hurt yourself or others, by mistake or intentionally



Rewriting, rereading or retracing the steps of a certain action, to make sure you didn’t forget anything



Having to categorize or delete an e-mail, immediately after you’ve read it



Checking for mistakes, errors, imperfections, etc.



Praying after each mistake, fault, sin or omission



Self-inflicted punishment



Having to recite a prayer or a mantra a certain number of times



Repeating certain words, out loud or quietly



Making lists for everything



Refusing to get rid of useless items or delete files from your computer



Keeping old notebooks, records, flyers, brochures, etc.



“Adopting” every animal you find on the street



Avoiding certain places, objects or people



Taking excessive and unnecessary medical tests and treatments



Having to use a product/item for a strict period of time (even though the product/item is still usable)



Mental rituals (mentally repeating a certain phrase, counting to a certain number, etc.)



Seeking reassurance about your sexuality



Avoiding relationships



Other compulsions/rituals



It’s important not to lose this list because you’ll need it for the rest of the course. If you think that you might misplace it, save it to a memorable directory on your computer and phone, or print a few copies.

Full reference: 

(Mar 8, 2016). What Are Your Compulsions?. Retrieved Jun 19, 2024 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/e/what-are-your-compulsions

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