Compulsions have many faces

Many mental and physical illnesses suffer from similar symptoms. Different with the obsessive-compulsive disorder. The differences between the various forms of compulsion can be so great that those affected themselves do not believe that they actually suffer from the same disorder. The link between them, however, is that they all experience uncontrollable thoughts and impulses in some form. Also, the number of symptoms varies from person to person: while some suffer from a compulsion, others fight against a whole series of different obsessive-compulsive disorder immediately. The most common forms are briefly presented below, with the so-called cleaning and washing compulsions account for the largest share.

Cleaning and washing compulsions

Those affected feel panic anxiety or disgust with dirt, bacteria, viruses and body fluids or excretions. The associated discomfort leads to extensive washing and cleaning rituals. Here, the hands, the entire body, the apartment or even the soiled object for hours to be cleaned and disinfected. The course of the rituals is precisely defined. If there are interruptions, the person concerned must start over again.

checking compulsions

The second largest group of obsessive-compulsive disorders are the so-called control constraints. In this case, those concerned fear that they will cause a catastrophe by carelessness and neglect. For this reason, technical household appliances, doors and windows as well as just driven routes are checked again and again. But even after the repeated checkup, the obsessive-compulsive patient does not feel that everything is in order. Often the victims then ask family members or neighbors to help them with their control. In this way, they can take the responsibility and finish their inspection faster.

Repeat and count constraints

The so-called repetitive constraints bring the affected person to repeat everyday actions - such as brushing teeth or shaking the bedding - always repeat a certain number of times. Failing to comply with his rules, he feared that something bad might happen to him or a person close to him. When forced to count, the obsessive-compulsive patient feels the urge to count certain things, such as books on the shelf, paving stones or bathroom tiles again and again.

collecting constraints

Collection Forgers are afraid of accidentally throwing away something of value or importance to them. In doing so, they find it extremely difficult to distinguish between the memorabilia and worthless trash that are important for every human being. Many also collect discarded items such as old car parts or broken household appliances to repair them "at some point". For some time now the media have been reporting more and more about the so-called Messies. The affected persons are characterized by the so-called "neglect syndrome". A large part of them also suffers from crowding.

regulatory constraints

The persons concerned have subjected themselves to very strict criteria and yardsticks. Accordingly, they spend a considerable amount of time every day in order to restore their order meticulously. For example, they always place the food cans in a certain way on the shelf or they make sure that the laundry in the cupboard is exactly on top of each other.

Compulsive slowness

Since compulsive rituals consume a great deal of time, any obsessive-compulsive disorder slows down the lives of those affected. For a small subgroup, however, slowness itself is the problem. You need hours for everyday actions like eating or dressing. When combing hair, for example, each hair must be brushed individually. If the person is confused, he has to start all over again.

Obsessional thoughts without compulsions

Intrusive thoughts play a central role in most obsessive-compulsive disorders. In a subgroup of those affected, however, the coercion consists exclusively of intrusive thoughts. These have mostly aggressive ("I could beat my wife"), sexual ("I could sexually abuse the neighbor kid" or "I'm homosexual") or religious ("I could blasphemously utter myself during the service") content. The biggest fear of those affected is that their thoughts could eventually become reality. In fact, so far no case has become known where a compulsive sufferer has turned his frightening obsessive thoughts into reality.

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