An obsession is a recurring, usually intrusive thought, while a compulsion refers to a behavior over which an individual seems to have little or no control. Both obsessions and compulsions (which often occur together) can cause a significant amount of distress within an individual or a family. Both may serve some purpose of providing a sense of momentary relief from stress or anxiety.
The experiences of individuals with obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors vary widely. Some may describe their obsessions as intrusive, negative and disruptive, serving to keep them on high alert all or most of the time. Others describe their compulsions as time-consuming and exhausting, while others may describe them as relief-bringing and helpful. Often, the observations of family members or other close relationships can be very helpful in accurately describing the nature of apparent obsessions or compulsions.
Obsessions and compulsions may appear together (as with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) or separately, or as a part of another disorder (such as depression or PTSD). Compulsions can include compulsive shopping, smoking, watching television, viewing pornography, playing video games, cutting, and much more. As behaviors, they are observable by others and may demand the most attention, leaving the obsessions that accompany them to remain secretive. When the compulsive behavior alone is addressed, stopping that activity often leads to an experience of withdrawal, with further distress experienced as the obsessive thoughts remain.
Covenant Counseling provides a safe environment to explore compulsive behavior and obsessive thoughts, towards helping an individual experience a newfound sense of freedom and peace.
If you would like to make an appointment with one of our counselors, or have any questions, please call 205 879-7500. Click here if you would like to email one of our counselors.