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OCD and Obsessions (Obsessive Thinking)

Obsessions are the driving force of obsessive compulsive disorder. They are persistent, unpleasant, uncontrollable thoughts that upset us greatly and just won't go away.

Common obsessions involve: (List in no particular order)

• Religion, sex and violence.
• Getting dirty or catching some disease or illness.
• Being dirty and contaminating others.
• That loved ones may be hurt or killed
• Harming loved ones.
• That appliances are left on / doors are left open.
• That certain numbers are bad or good.

For obsessive thoughts to be diagnosed as a problem a number of criteria are considered. These include:-

bluearr They must be present on most days for at least 2 successive weeks.

bluearr They must be a source of distress or interference with activities.

bluearr They must be recognized as the individual's own thoughts.

bluearr There must be at least one thought that is still resisted unsuccessfully, even though others may be present which the sufferer no longer resists.

bluearr The thought of carrying out the act must not in itself be pleasurable.

bluearr The thoughts or images must be unpleasantly repetitive.


So what causes obsessive thoughts?

Here's something that gives us a clue:-

In an experiment in the 1970's insomniacs who couldn't get to sleep because of incessant intrusive thoughts were given placebo pills (sugar pills with no effect).

Some were told the pills would relax them (stop the uncontrollable thoughts and help them sleep). Others were told that the pills would make them more alert (more active, think more).

Surprisingly, the ones who were told that the pill would make them more alert went to sleep faster. They did so because they were able to attribute their inabilty to sleep to the pill and not some problem within themselves.

And it is something we FEEL about our self that creates obsessive thoughts.



"a persistent idea or impulse often associated with anxiety"

(Collins English Dictionary)


Cleaning / Washing
Other OCD Problems


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More Resources:
OCD Foundation

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