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When Compulsion Becomes OCD

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, relationships, or other essential functions. It can include behaviours such as eating, shopping, hoarding and animal hoarding, skin picking, and gambling.

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  • 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...

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:

  • 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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  • One example of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the phobia related to germs and leads to a person disinfecting and cleaning everything obsessively.
  • It is already problematic for many and is now amplified due to the ongoing pandemic.
  • A person who is fanatic about sani...

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