Opening the why-box. Part 13. Miscellaneous compulsions

Miscellaneous compulsions include:

Mental rituals (other than checking/counting). This category is extremely broad, and includes any mental activity designed specifically to decrease anxiety from obsessions or to provide reassurance (things like “rewinding a mental videotape,” remembering, figuring things out, rehearsing mentally, etc.).

Excessive list making. This includes to-do lists, lists of things that have occurred, lists of things one intends to do, even lists of lists.

Need to tell, ask, or confess. This is frequently a complement to the need to know, and can include questioning if done in a ritual manner, telling about one’s day or about facts that one deems important, or confessing to relieve a feeling of guilt.

Need to touch, tap, or rub*. These can frequently be tic-like compulsions, and include symmetrical touching on each side of one’s body, touching doorframes as one enters a room, touching other people, tapping rhythmically or a certain number of times. The*denotes that this may or may not be OCD.

Rituals involving blinking or staring*. This includes staring for certain period of time, blinking a certain number of times or staring until one achieves a “just so” feeling. The*denotes that this may or may not be OCD.

Measures (not checking) to prevent: harm to self, harm to others, terrible consequences. This category can include any ritualized behavior if the purpose is to prevent harm. Items in this category vary widely, and can include deviating one’s eyes upward, drawing a symbol in the air, thinking a particular thought (this overlaps with mental rituals), or rotating clockwise if one has rotated counterclockwise during the day.

Ritualized eating behaviors*. This includes eating foods in a certain order around the plate, needing to eat at a certain time of day, not letting foods touch other foods, chewing food certain number of times, or avoiding foods out of a fear that they may be harmful. The asterisk denotes that this may or may not be OCD.

Superstitious behaviors. This includes any things that we think of as “culturally normal” superstitions, like avoiding black cats or walking under ladders. It also includes similar superstitions specific to the individual, things individual acknowledges are silly but that they need to be done anyway.

Trichotillomania*. Although most trichotillomania is not actually OCD, but rather part of the impulse control disorders group, there are cases where hair pulling can be OCD related. These are primarily in areas of perfectionism, for example needing to have exactly the same number of eyebrow hairs on one side as on the other side. The asterisk denotes that this may or may not be OCD.

Other self-damaging or self-mutilating behaviors*. This includes any behaviors resulting in harm or damage to oneself that are done specifically to relief anxiety from an obsession. Examples include giving one’s self bruise on the right arm to provide symmetry with an existing bruise on the left arm. The*denotes that this may or may not be OCD.

Other. As always, this category includes an option of “other” to collect any miscellaneous rituals or compulsions not listed above.


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