What are compulsions?



Common compulsions include washing and cleaning, checking, repeating, mental compulsions, repeating (such as re-reading or re-writing), and hoarding (although hoarding is not always due to OCD). Compulsions are the ways that you try to escape from the anxiety or discomfort of the obsessions. Unfortunately, Compulsions actually keep the vicious cycle going! Therefore, the compulsions need to be gradually blocked.  This is hard work to do, and it is even harder to do without a therapist with expertise in OCD.


Gail Steketee, PhD (1993) summarized the cognitive distortions that are common among OCD sufferers:

  1. Risk/Harm--overestimation of risk or harm

  2. Doubt/Uncertainty--doubting perceptions and memory, a need for certainty, difficulty making decisions, problems categorizing

  3. Perfectionism--overconcern with precision

  4. Guilt/Responsibility--Overly responsible and guilt-ridden

  5. Rigidity/Morality--May be overly rigid and moralistic