Youth Compulsions Description

Compulsions are avoiding or repetitive behaviours that we feel we must perform like a ritual. We feel compelled to avoid certain things or to do particular actions to prevent us from worrying about something, to stop us from having unwanted thoughts or to stop something bad from happening. Things like washing our hands over and over to stop us from getting dirty or sick; checking power switches or doors; counting or touching things in a certain way; or rearranging things in a certain order around our room or house. 

One young girl said she was not happy unless her room was arranged in a precise order every day. If she didn’t get it right she would have to start all over again. Spending a lot of time in the morning carrying out certain rituals or completing tasks can make you late or even absent from school.

Like habits, the more we do the compulsive behaviours, the more we feel like we have to do them.
... most of all, compulsions are FAKE!

Feel right – they feel important, necessary and useful because they seem to relieve the threat

Automatic – the urge is so strong that they seem irresistible, like we have no choice and just have to do them

Keep on & on – the relief is very short-lived, so we repeat and repeat and repeat

Essential – it seems the anxiety and discomfort cannot be handled any other way

Compulsions are fake because they deceive us into believing that they must be done, and they are the right thing to do – but very soon afterwards it makes us feel just as bad and worried as before. They give us false hope about making us feel better and they disguise the real problem – that things in life are always possible and we can’t prevent this, so the doubt keeps coming back.

Talking about obsessions