Restorations Therapy Blog

What Are Mental Compulsions?

by on Thursday, May 27th, 2021

mental compulsions

Some individuals who experience anxious thoughts perform compulsions to relieve the anxiety associated with an obsession; this is characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some of the most familiar images of OCD involve individuals meticulously cleaning and organizing, washing their hands constantly, or turning the lights off and on repeatedly.

While these physical compulsions are common with OCD, a less-discussed aspect of the disorder is mental compulsions. By identifying mental compulsions, individuals that experience them can finally put a name to their experiences and get the help they need.

What is a Compulsion?

First and foremost, it is vital to understand the basic idea of what compulsion is. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), compulsions are reoccurring behaviors that a person feels the urge to do due to an obsessive thought. Compulsions typically include actions such as repeatedly washing hands, constantly organizing or cleaning, or compulsive counting. However, mental compulsions can also occur that appear silent on the outside.

Defining Mental Compulsions

While physical compulsions occur externally, mental compulsions happen within the mind. These can include silently counting to oneself, ruminating on past events, suppressing certain thoughts, “checking” specific sensations in the body, or hyper-focusing on certain general life details. These are done for the same reasons physical compulsions are done but can be harder to spot. Diagnosing OCD can be more complicated if the person only experiences mental compulsions, but treatment is available.

Hope and Treatment

Because of the often debilitating nature of OCD, some individuals turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their obsessions and compulsions. This can often worsen symptoms, so it is crucial to seek professional treatment at an accredited facility. Treatment will involve teaching you how to identify mental rituals and how to replace them with healthier habits and behaviors. Over time, you will eventually be able to break free from OCD and heal from any other co-occurring disorders. You don’t have to stay stuck forever. Reach out for help today.

Mental compulsions are a common part of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that can be difficult to diagnose because they occur internally. However, there are ways of identifying the compulsions as long as the person seeks help from an experienced OCD therapist. Facilities such as Restorations Therapy are no stranger to mental health disorders, and our staff can help you take the first steps towards healing. Our programs are tailored to meet your recovery needs, so you can be sure to find clarity with Restorations Therapy. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (720) 446-6585.

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