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Compulsion vs. Addiction

A compulsion is an overwhelming desire to do something. An addiction is a physical or chemical dependence on a substance or behaviour.

Two key differences between compulsion and addiction:

  • Pleasure. Compulsive behaviours rarely result in feelings of pleasure. People with addictions desire the substance or behaviour because they expect to enjoy it.
  • Awareness: People with compulsive disorders are typically aware of their behaviours and bothered by the lack of logical reason for doing them. People with addictions are unaware of or unconcerned about the negative consequences of their actions.

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When an otherwise harmless behaviour becomes so consuming that it negatively impacts oneself or others, it may be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Most compulsive behaviours attributed to OCD are incredibly time-consuming, cause major distress, and impair work, relationshi...

  • Habits are repeated actions that must be consciously initiated. Eventually, the process becomes subconscious and automatic: for example, when you are brushing your teeth.
  • Unhealthy habits can become a compulsion or even an addiction. For e...

  • Compulsive overeating is the inability to control one's amount of nutritional intake, resulting in weight gain.
  • Compulsive shopping is done to the extent that it impairs the shoppers' lives, leaving them financially unstable.
  • Compu...

It involves actions a person feels driven to do over and over again.

Compulsive actions may appear to be irrational or pointless, but the individuals may feel incapable of stopping themselves.

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  • Compulsive shoppers: Buying when they are feeling emotional distress.
  • Trophy shoppers: They are always looking for the next great item.
  • Flashy shoppers: They desire the attention that comes with having nice, new things.

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OCD:Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

What is OCD?

These are upsetting thoughts or impulses that repeatedly occur.

  • People with OCD may try to ignore or suppress them, but they may be afraid that somehow the thoughts might be true.
  • The anxiety associated with suppression can also become too gr...

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Hoarding Isn’t About Stockpiling

Hoarding is a serious psychiatric disorder which has been witnessed by doctors for centuries, and is not some behavioural trait of otherwise normal people.

Symptoms of this disorder start from adolescence, and later become problematic.

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