Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide

Compulsions

Paul Nestadt, M.D., Gerald Nestadt, M.D.
Compulsions is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide.

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DEFINITION

A compulsion is a repetitive behavior or mental act, typically excessive, that the person feels compelled to perform in response to an obsession or according to specific rules, despite recognizing that it is unlikely to prevent a dreaded event.

A compulsion can involve diverse behaviors, including:

  • Cleaning or washing
  • Checking
  • Repeating
  • Counting
  • Ordering/arranging
  • Hoarding
  • Seeking constant reassurance

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Last updated: December 9, 2014