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Obsessive compulsiveness Talking Therapies

Obsessive compulsiveness

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Some of the common symptoms of obsessive compulsiveness

Have you been feeling?

  • fearful
  • guilty
  • low
  • irritable
  • agitated
  • tense
  • anxious/panicky
  • nervous
  • on edge
  • ashamed

Have you had thoughts that are/like?

  • obsessional about anything or something in particular
  • guilt-ridden about something bad happening or something being your fault
  • ‘I can’t stand this’
  • ‘I must do it’
  • ‘If I don’t do it something bad will happen’
  • ‘I have thought it so it must be true’
  • ‘I am a bad person’
  • ‘I am going to become ill’
  • ‘What if I have forgotten to switch something off’

Have you noticed?

  • you are engaging in daily rituals (compulsions)
  • you are avoiding certain things, places, or people
  • you are always seeking reassurance
  • daily tasks are taking longer to complete
  • you are not as punctual as you used to be
  • you are spending more time alone
  • you have stopped doing the things you enjoy
  • you lack energy
  • you are engaging in ‘checking’ behaviours

Possible causes of obsessive compulsiveness

  • Stressful life events – These can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused.
  • Negative thinking – Sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation; this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook, you may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you. You may overestimate the chances of something bad happening to you or your loved ones. You may also put a lot of importance on to the thoughts you have, which can result in you misinterpreting them. This can often leave you distressed and frightened or guilty.
  • Genetics – There is no known specific gene for Obsessiveness Compulsiveness but there has been research that shows that Obsessive Compulsiveness may be hereditary, this may be through our genes or through learnt behaviour as a child.

How common is obsessive compulsiveness?

  • 1.3 per cent of the population of England have obsessive compulsive disorder at any one time
  • up to 3 per cent of the population will experience obsessive compulsive disorder at some time in their life

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