General characteristics of obsessions

General characteristics of obsessions

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Studies indicate that practically 90% of the general population frequently suffer from intrusive ideas.

Intrusive ideas are thoughts that appear in our mind without our wishing and that also in terms of content they do not differ in anything from pathological obsessions since both increase if the person is sad or depressed. The obsessions are more intensely lived and are perceived as real.


  • 1 When obsessions appear
  • 2 Vulnerability variables and most prominent precipitants
  • 3 Precipitating variables of obsessions

When obsessions appear

You get to develop the disorder because the person interprets this type of ideas in catastrophic terms giving credibility to the content, feeling responsible or guilty of obsession. Then those thoughts cause strong discomfort and the person will begin to develop neutralization strategies to eliminate ideas and feel safe, with which the problem will begin to settle.

The first element is the trigger situation

That is, those reality situations that make discomfort appear. The person associates these situations with his fears and automatically, when he comes into contact with those situations, the obsession appears in his mind.

The second element is the obsession itself

The trigger situation causes the appearance of obsession. This is an automatic and involuntary process. Although everything is very confusing, the sufferer normally recognizes that these thoughts come from the mind itself, but not from the voluntary reasoning, from the real self.

Most of the obsessive see clearly that their obsessions are irrational and absurd, with a low probability that it will become a real event when they are not in the process of being obsessive.

The third element is discomfort

The emotional reaction that drives obsessive compulsive disorder is anxiety.

The fourth element is compulsions or rituals

When the person is having the obsession in his mind and suffering that emotional pain, he has to do something to feel better.

Obsessives develop strategies to neutralize or block bad times through which it crosses. The most characteristic of the disorder is compulsion, behaviors that are done in the precise order whose objective is to be safe from the fear induced by the obsession.

Compulsions cause a quick and powerful sense of relief. When a person ritualizes their ghosts and their emotional pain is reduced and, in that sense, their feeling is that it works. This is called the "anxiety trap."

Vulnerability variables and most prominent precipitants

Biological vulnerability

The Autonomous Nervous System gives the hormonal and biochemical substrate to anxiety. Following this idea, the predisposed people would activate in the Autonomous Nervous System in the face of the slightest danger. It would be something like a sensitive alarm. The slightest environmental variation would cause the body to prepare for action, fight or flight. In this sense we could say that they would be more innately nervous people. However, this factor is not enough by itself to produce an anxiety disorder.

Another reading of biological vulnerability is to explain the TOC depending on problems in the metabolism of certain brain neurotransmitters, in particular of serotonin.

Psychological vulnerability

There are a number of educational variables that favor the development of a personal style, which in turn favors the appearance of obsessive compulsive disorder.

It seems clear that many people with OCD have observed models in their childhood or adolescence that offered behaviors, if not clinically obsessive-compulsive, that were very close. This learning effect is especially clear in obsessives with washing rituals.

We also know that another vulnerability variable is the difficulty making decisions and solving problems. This difficulty probably also has its origin many years ago and theorists also agree to explain it as a result of certain parenting patterns. In particular, of overprotective parents or excessively demanding parents. Both styles, although differently, could lead to people who never learned an effective method of deciding, to solve the problems inherent in life. As a result, his degree of doubt and hesitation has always been very high.

Throughout our education, we learn a series of great philosophical ideas that then serve to guide our lives. Ideas about ourselves, others and the world. We know that some of these beliefs could facilitate the appearance of OCD, such as the belief that people should have perfect control over their thoughts; In other words, we just have to think exactly what we want to think. Or what area studies call the concept thought-action fusion: a kind of magical or superstitious idea in which it is argued that between thinking and doing there are no differences.

Also a moral system, rigid, with a marked line between what is right and what is wrong would enter this group of ideas. Often the people who develop OCD are very honest people, with a strict moral sense. The so-called "excessive responsibility", or ease to feel responsible for events in which one has little to do. It is not uncommon to find events sometimes in childhood and adolescence that made these people take prematurely responsible for circumstances that due to their age did not correspond to them: work in a family business, take care of young children, or have the obligation to get good grades because it was up to get a scholarship and the possibility to continue studying. High standards and perfectionism are also common.

Precipitating variables of obsessions

That a person has one or more vulnerability variables does not necessarily mean that he or she will suffer from OCD, but that it has more possibilities. For this to happen, it is necessary to combine other variables called precipitants. That is to say something much more concrete must happen and I acted as the initiator of the disorder. Sometimes that event may have been traumatic to a greater or lesser degree. However, more common than a traumatic event is that one day, without more, the person will slip into an intrusive thought that is disturbing. If we are not vulnerable, we will probably not give it importance and it will come in and out of our mind. But if we get scared, we feel guilty, we will believe it or interpret it as a personal anomaly, and try to eliminate thinking, the effect will be the inverse of the desired one and the thought will become more frequent and more difficult to reduce until it becomes a real obsession.