What is obsession?

We explain what obsession is and what is its relationship with compulsion. In addition, obsession in children and scales of obsessions.

  1. What is obsession?

Obsession is understood in different contexts with different meanings, but they all have the same basis, a subject or repetitive idea . Despite the negative vision you may have, an obsession can be much more frequent than you can imagine and it is not always a psychological disorder or problem that should be treated, unless it causes problems in some area of the life.

The word obsession has its origin in the Latin obsessio , which means “siege . ” And it basically consists of a mood disturbance generated by a consistent, rigid and persistent idea that affects the mind and has various forms of manifestation.

The obsession becomes annoying because it consciously unleashes the subject with thought and getting rid of it is an arduous task, since it perseveres beyond the will of the person.

  1. Obsession and compulsion

Obsession - Compulsion
Compulsion causes stressful emotions such as fear or fear.

The obsession has a pathological connotation because it dominates the mood of the one who suffers it , being a force that totally controls it, producing both anxiety and anguish.

Now, an obsession is almost equal to compulsion, since both are a combination of ideas or thoughts that end up sowing strenuous emotions in subjects, such as fear or fear. And although the obsession is related to ideas and compulsion with behavior , the former can also be conceived as behavior.

However, we will understand the compulsion as, expressly, systematic behaviors that are performed in the form of a ceremony in order to placate the obsessions. Therefore, a compulsion cannot exist if there is no obsession .

  1. The obsession in psychotic context

For those who suffer from the obsession and for those who do not know the subject, it may seem like behavior almost scratching in madness , probably because of this, patients are afraid to consult a specialist, for the answer they can get or for what others say.

But obsession does not always respond to a psychotic picture, it is often part of the symptomatology of various types of disorders such as anxiety or depression .

The most severe cases, such as delirium or hallucinations, do not accompany the common of people with obsessions. It is more frequent that brief reactive psychoses are observed in obsessive-compulsive neurosis, caused by a deterioration due to its presence, or a severe intensity of the obsession that ends up generating psychotic symptoms.

  1. The obsession in children

Obsession in children
In the latency period is when you start to get signs of obsessive personality.

Piaget is one of the authors of the most emblematic development and gives an important observation regarding the behaviors that a child can perform as a ritual.

Basically, it is that learning in certain evolutionary stages of the human being includes repetitive and somewhat obsessive acts , this is because habits begin to be established.

It is precisely in the period called “latency” when signs of obsessive personality types begin to be obtained . So conducting a detailed assessment is essential to make accurate discrimination between “normal” and “abnormal.”

  1. Scales of obsessions

These may be present in different grades and modalities. Recurring thoughts, impulses or images that:

  • They are experienced as symptomatology of a disorder, appearing intrusively and causing anxiety.
  • Are related only to specific events or daily concerns of everyday life.
  • They try to ignore or placate with other ideas or behaviors.
  • They are able to recognize the nature of their obsession and do not give it greater importance.
  1. Looks towards Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

There are several authors who provide an explanatory model, but we will point out some of the most important or current, as the case may be:

  • Eysenck argued that obsessions arise from the incubation response, which comes as a result of frustration as he receives no reward from unconditioned stimuli that cause him fear. Therefore, when something does not calm the fear, it can become a recurring and persistent theme, or interest may be lost. But the obsession corresponds to the first. Compulsion would be the mechanism by which the person seeks to calm down and have the illusion of keeping these disturbing ideas under control.
  • Horowitz argues that it is common for people to have certain obsessive ideas without them reaching the extreme of being pathological. It is simply about thoughts that many individuals share in silence.
  • Rachman and Silva add to what Horowitz pointed out that these intrusive ideas correspond to everyday harmful ideas, to which the subject has not been able to habituate or adapt, so it persists.
  1. Treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsession - Obsessive compulsive disorder
Currently, certain types of drugs are used depending on the diagnosis.
  • Behavioral : They seek exposure to the stimulus that triggers the obsession in order to achieve, in a therapeutic and subsequently adaptive context, the habituation to said element.
  • Organic : In the “antiquity” this type of treatment consisted of surgery or lobotomy. Currently, certain types of drugs are used, depending on the diagnosis, such as tricyclics (Imipramine or monoamine oxidase inhibitors), which have worked very well, especially when depression has been present. Otherwise, tranquilizers are usually a complement to psychotherapy in situations of overwhelmed anxiety.
  • Cognitive : It  uses various techniques such as covert sensitization in order to treat harmful or destructive habits.

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