Other Problems Associated with OCD
The following problems reflect common expressions of OCD:-
Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)
Including: food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, work, sex and gambling – virtually anything that we
derive pleasure from can become compulsive and addictive for such things represent immediate gratification, taking away bad
feelings and replacing them with good ones.
But they don't actually take away those feelings and although they do give us some pleasure, we still feel bad.
The fleeting pleasure from addictive behaviour can never erase the deep inner feelings, but it does allay anxiety to an
extent and help us feel in control, so we do it more and more until the attempts to ease the pain and get control eventually become
Indeed, over time, most addictions no longer give us pleasure (after a while, the binge eater doesn't even taste the food) and they only
serve to enforce our inner feelings of low self-worth, insecurity and lack of control.
OCD compulsions stem from insecurity and fear. With hoarding, feelings of inner insecurity become linked to
possessions, owning and having.
The more deeply insecure we feel, the more we collect or hold onto items that just might be useful to us, things we may
need in the future:
• Newspapers and magazines may hold that one piece of information that we need to protects us.
• Food, clothes and household items help us to live and survive.
Hoarding and owning things may also help to fill emptiness and loneliness felt inside.
However, as the collecting and holding onto things fail to offer real control and security, it becomes more and more involved
– until we have to keep or collect virtually everything.
Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)
Here, deep insecurities that become attached to our appearance and attractiveness can lie at the heart of this problem.
The hair holds a special place relating to innate attractiveness. Comparable to plumage, manes etc. in other animals, it
reflects health and vibrancy.
Most men don't want to be bald and will do anything to delay or disguise it. Women 'fiddle' with their hair when flirting
and constantly adjust it when they feel insecure about their appearance. Both sexes spend a considerable amount of effort
to get their hair 'just right'.
Pulling at hair is similar to the 'picking at our self' seen in skin picking – it reflects our feelings of 'something
wrong with me' and 'something not quite right'.
Adjusting our hair in order to be 'right' and picking at it 'for not being right' become related.
Linked to innate personal need for attraction and society's endless pursuit of it, hair coming out and going bald becomes
associated with our self-value. The more we feel bad the more we pull our hair, and the more that comes out the more we
It becomes obsessive as the adjusting, picking, and pulling, rather than alleviating our insecurity, just makes it
worse. So the obsession increases and pulling hair transforms into ever more intricate rituals such as: pulling out single
hairs, sucking or eating them or eating the root.
Becoming more and more complicated, these procedures do provide some element of comfort but ultimately never provide a real
answer to our feelings of insecurity.
An anxiety disorder that involves persistent, uncontrollable, upsetting thoughts (obsessions) and actions that we are compelled to do,
seemingly against our own will (compulsions).
Cleaning / Washing
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