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What is Obsessional Behavior

Obsessional Behavior is a neurotic behavior pattern is thought to stem from guilt feelings and repressed desires. This is the obsessive-compulsive neurosis which incorporates two separate reactions. They occur together so frequently that they are clinically regarded as being two aspects of a single behavior pattern.

Most people have recurrent nagging thoughts: 'Did I leave the car lights on?' 'Did I lock the front door?' A popular tune sometimes 'sticks' stubbornly in one's head for hours. These niggling thoughts are trivial when compared to neurotic obsessional thoughts which disrupt life and can disable an individual completely. Such neurotics are unable to concentrate on anything but the obsessions which occupy their thoughts.

Obsessive thoughts appear to act as a buffer between the neurotic's feelings and actions. They constitute a new kind of 'reality'- something which must be dealt with. Compulsions facilitate the translation of these thoughts into behavior, usually consisting of highly repetitive and ritualistic actions.

One patient was known to have spent most of seven months climbing in and out of bed every morning. He stood up, crossed the floor, then forgot his initial movements. Back to bed he would go, reattempting the maneuver over and over again.

Preoccupation with intricate and complicated rituals is the obsessive-compulsive's means of ensuring that unconscious impulses being guarded against are shut out. Some rituals (such as the persistent necessity to 'cleanse oneself' by constant handwashing) are even designed symbolically to undo guilt feelings.

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