What is a compulsive disorder?

Compulsive disorder illness.

In the latest years compulsive disorder symptoms have been more known. This involves both compulsive thoughts and compulsive actions. It has led to making it easier to talk about such problems something the persons suffering from compulsive disorder often find it shameful and difficult to do. Thanks to new treatments, both psychological and medical, we have an optimistic view about the help patients can get.

With mental force we understand that it is something that forces into the patient against his or hers will. This is something comming from inside the patients themselves and not something coming external. The inner force is experienced so much that the patients cant get it away even with great efforts. The patient is clear of that the thoughts are meaningless, the actions not needed and the negative thoughts fruitless. Still one cant remove this and if one tries to remove them he or she often feels a strong anxiety and discomfort. To avoid this one surrenders to the compulsive disorder. Most people who suffer from compulsive disorder have both compulsive thoughts and actions, many have as well negative thoughts.

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Compulsive thoughts are repeated and long lasting thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced so strong and meaningless that creates a big anxiety or uncomfort. The person tries to look beyong these thoughts, impulses or images or tries to neutralize them with other thoughts and actions. The person is clear of that the compulsive thoughts comes from his own self and that they are unreasonable. An ex. of compulsive thought si: "What if I cant turn of the oven so that it starts a fire?" "What if i strungle my husband?" "What if i suddenly say something bad so others hear me?".


Compulsive actions are repeated, like hand washing, cleaning or checking, or psychological actions, like telling or repeating words soundless, that the person feels forced to perform daily cause of his compulsive thoughts after strict rules.These actions are performed from anxiety, and even if the person feels the actions are unreasonable they are difficult to resist. Examples of compulsive actions are repated control of ex. the oven, that the washing machine is truned right and such. The most common is washing ones hands. The sick can be seen standing in the toilet for a long time to wash his or hers hands. They have to control over and over again if they have locked the door, turned off the oven and such. They can as well clean their house many times. Beneath this lies the fear of something bad happening to them. The compulsive actions helps by keeping this fear away. Some suffer from both compulsive thoughts and actions.

Compulsive rumination is long lasting and means repeated thoughts about questions not easily solved, like "Does there exist life after death?", "will my husband get cancer?" and such. It can be ideas that are almost always negative. The sick can see by himself hurting his own family and become afraid for it to happen. Or the sick will think a lot about simpel decisions.

Compulsive hesitation makes it so that the sick never gets decided because having an opinion gives him anxiety and stress. Examples of this are: "Should I buy a mazda or toyota?" "Should we travel to Norway or Greece?". Many people have small degrees of compulsive hesitation. For a diagnosis to come the compulsive hesitation must have increased uncomfort, take more than one hour a day or give significant or make problems for them in daily routines, work and education. Something all persons suffering have in common is that talking about it leads to shame. This makes the persons hide the disease as much as they can.

How common are the compulsive disorders?
Compulsive disorder affects about 2% of the population. This means that you are not alone dealing with these problems. The disease exists in women as much as in men. The disease can start already in ones childhood but in most cases it starts at the end of ones teenage years or in early adult life.

What causes compulsive disorders?
Compulsive disorder is as most of other psychological disorders, both nevrological, psychological and social reasons of factors. What type of these factors plays most role in the individual patient is found together with the doctor. Nevrological compulsive disorder is an unbalance of serotonin in parts of the brain. The rituals to neatrulize the disorder means more concsious choices where the brain is activated. Many have experienced a soft form of disorder, but if this comes in conflict or the stress increases the disorder increases as well. Then it it obvious that it is a psychological side of the disorder as well. Compulsive disorder can come through a physical disease especially if the disorder comes when in adult life. One must be carefull of not defining other mental diseases with compulsive disorder.

Sometimes the person suffering from compulsive disorder have more than one disorder, that can be agoraphobia where the person is afraid of situations where it is difficult or embarrasing to get away from or get help if the anxiety becomes too strong, like going to crowded stores, taking the buss or going to the movies. Specific phobia means when the person is afraid of unreasonable fears like taking the plain, sight of blood and anxiety for hights.

Generalised anxiety disorder is a fear and worry of something bad will happen to ones economy, health and other relations in life. The sick often fears he or someone in the family will get sick or die from an accident.


Posttraumatic stress starts with the patient himself having to go through a traumatic experience or been a witness of others been. By doing some ritualistic activities the negative thoughts go away. Usual actions are hand washing and repeated checks. After a while if the person does not get help he or she feels depressed and give up. This can lead to depression.

Compulsive disorder can be trated with psychotherapy and medications. Often those two methods are combined. It can take som time before the effects kick in so it is important to be patient. Sometimes the disorder goes completely away but mostly we must count only with a significant improvement. This mostly enough to increase the patients well beeng so they can have a good life. Those who have compulsive disorders often go to the doctors after many years of suffering. This because they believe the disorder is embarrasing and as well the lack of belief that they can be cured. Treatment can take some time and remember there are good hopes as treatment today is much better than before. Talking to ones closest friends and family can help too through support.