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Compulsion

Compulsion

Rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Announcing their arrival with a chainsaw buzz of guitars and an uncompromising attitude, the London-based four piece Compulsion began spreading their punk-like brand of music in early 1992. The band was at first lumped together with a cluster of British groups reviving the sound of New Wave acts from a decade earlier but such labels quickly slid away with the release of their debut album, Comforter, in 1994. However, the band had a hot and cold relationship with the British press, as well as with their record label and was virtually ignored in America. Fortunately for Compulsion, the lows are rivaled only by the depth of their talent, wrote Nisid Hajari in Entertainment Weekly. They cant bear the next Beatles yoke any better than [British contemporaries] Oasis, but they do have the spunk (and more than enough chops) to be the next Sex Pistols. Unfortunately, any similarity to 1970s punk rock legends the Sex Pistols the group may have had included in its rocky existence, and after the release of a second album in 1996, Compulsion soon disbanded.

Compulsions story began when two Irish natives, vocalist Josephmary and guitarist Garret Lee, relocated to London, England in the early 1990s. They formed Thee Amazing Colossal Men, a group firmly entrenched in the sound of classic 1960s guitar rock. After only one release, Thee Amazing Colossal Men called it quits. Shortly thereafter they were joined by Sid Rainey on bass and Jan Willem on drums and emerged as Compulsion in January of 1992. From its onset, Compulsions tolerance for record company politics was minimal and the band set up their own label, entitled Fabulon. Choosing spontaneous one-day spurts in the studio over drawn out overproduction, Compulsion committed to set their first two EPs to vinyl after one-take sessions. The important thing is the song and the attitude, Josephmary explained in an internet article. We cant imagine taking a week to record a song that takes three minutes to play.

Despite this attitude, Josephmary and company soon signed to the One Little Indian label, a company known for signing bands with unusual slants on pop music and released the hastily recorded Safety mini-album. The violent energy captured on Safety, as well as on the earlier Compulsion and Casserole EPs was matched by the bands live presence as they began appearing in the British club circuit in frenetic displays that resulted in a number of stage injuries. However, reviews of Compulsions gigs were sometimes devastating, with many British critics seeing the band as a hollow and unoriginal attempt at 1970s style punk rock. Compulsion are a band that should never have been signed in the first place, wrote Melody Makers Colm OCallaghan in response to a London performance in the spring of 1990. They havent a song. Or a hope. Look, Compulsion really dont even deserve a critical boot in the groin. Its like stabbing a dead mule, really. Pointless.

To make matters worse, Compulsion was also unfairly thrown into the context of a musical movement that was in part created by hype alone within the pages of the British press. Called the New Wave of New Wave (NWONW), this small ensemble of groups that included Elastica and Menswear used dated keyboards and sported skinny ties in homage to post-punk groups of the early 1980s. Aside from Josephmarys spiky hair, Compulsion had little to do with most of these bands musically, yet for several years the group was hounded by the new wave tag.

Some of Britains journalists slowly began to take a second look at Compulsion by the time of the groups full length debut Comforter, released in 1994. Musically, the album garnered more comparisons to the abrasive guitar sounds of groups like the Pixies and the Manic Street Preachers than to new wave acts of a decade earlier such as Devo or Wire. Through its lyrics, Comforter constructed fourteen disturbing snapshots of the warped cruelty often underlying the sober face of middle class society, on songs with titles like Domestique and Mall Monarchy. By now youll have been

For the Record

Members include Jan Willem Alkema (born c.1965 in Holland), drums; Garret Lee (born c.1968 in Dublin, Ireland), guitar; Josephmary (born c.1964 in Dublin, Ireland), vocals; Sid Rainey (born c.1968 in Ireland), bass.

Band renamed Compulsion after the dissolution of Thee Amazing Colossal Men in January of 1992; signed to One Little Indian, released the Safety mini-album, 1992; released debut album Comforter in 1994; rejected and sued American label Elektra weeks before the scheduled release of Comforter in the U.S., 1994; released final album, The Future Is Medium on One Little Indian, 1996; disbanded after being dropped from One Little Indian, 1997.

Addresses: Record label Interscope, 10900 Wilshire Blvd., #1400, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

distracted by the NWONW tag, wrote Ian Watson in Melody Maker. Or else youve been put off by the assertion that Compulsion are trading on someone elsesnamely Pixiesgood idea. No matter. This distinclty deranged long player [Comforter ] will iron out the creases. Maybe its time to start taking these guys seriously.

Just as things were looking up for the group, a scuffle with Elektra, Compulsions intended label for American release, set the overseas release of Comforter back for months. Although the band had made a verbal agreement with Elektra, Compulsion soon found problems with its corporate philosophies and signed a written contract with Interscope Records, leaving Elektra executives fuming. Their lawyer said he would bury us so deep that no one ever knew the album existed, Josephmary admitted to Hajari with a smile. Elektras threats proved to be idle, however, and Interscope was able to release Comforter in the fall of 1994.

Compulsion continued to make their live shows central to their music, embarking on a tour of the U.S. In response to the small teddy bear that graced the cover of Comforter, fans began pelting the group with stuffed animals during performances. Upon their return to the United Kingdom, critics still didnt know what to make of Compulsion and were, on the whole, equivocal towards the band. Theres something going on here that I cant quite put my finger on, wrote Jennifer Nine in Melody Maker in response to a subsequent gig. I think its called embarrassment. But only mine. Cos [sic] thats the Compulsion punk rock experience pretty much shameless. Ninety per cent cheap laffs [sic], maybe, but 100 per cent dedication.

The bands misfortunes only snowballed for the following years, including MTVs rejection of the big-budget video Compulsion had made for Mall Monarchy, a satire on American talk shows. Nevertheless, Compulsion forged ahead with their extensive touring, stopped only by the occasional injuries inflicted in and out of concert venues. In early 1996, several dates were scrapped when drummer Alkema cracked three ribs in a skirmish in the Netherlands.

In addition to the above flak, several British tabloids had followed their New Wave of New Wave hype with a celebration of Britpop, bands like Blur or Pulp who had much in common with the style and self-consciously English songwriting of earlier groups like the Kinks. As Compulsion had already been associated with punk and new wave, they were again edged out of the latest national trend. In response to this, Compulsion released the single Question Time For The Proles, a song which attacked the nostalgia for the past the Britpop fad incurred on many young workers, or proles. Proles are being bombarded by these images of the Swinging Sixties, stuff they couldnt possibly remember because they were too young, Josephmary told Melody Maker in March of 1996. I think Britpop is just another version of the New Wave of New Wave.

Compulsions second album, The Future is Medium, was released by One Little Indian. Unreleased in America, The Future is Medium continued where they had left off on Comforter, satirizing the state of British society with songs like Juvenile Scene Detective. Also as with Comforter, The Future Is Medium met with reviews that were positive, even if begrudgingly so, such as John Robb in Melody Maker. Why be content with one guitar texture, when ten will do?, queried Robb rhetorically. Why have just one vocal, when you can have two fighting crazily for the same space?. The Future Is Medium is one huge war zone of guitar filth. Big, bright, and brassy, Compulsion are no spent force yet. Unfortunately, Compulsion were unable to prove their staying power to their naysayers, and by 1997 the band was dumped by One Little Indian in 1997, perhaps illustrating once again the chaos that punk rock and its offspring may carry. In Compulsions aftermath, Lee and Alkelma went on to join the groups Sack and China Drum, respectively.

Selected discography

Boogie Woogie, Elektra/Asylum, 1994 (compilation of early EPs).

Comforter, One Little Indian/lnterscope, 1994.

The Future Is Medium, One Little Indian, 1996.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, October 22, 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, June 30, 1995.

Melody Maker, March 28, 1992; March 26, 1994; March 9, 1996; April 27, 1996; May 25, 1996; July 6, 1996; July 13, 1996.

Online

http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/parkstreet/186/info.htm

http://www.interscoperecords.co/lrcompbio.html

Shaun Frentner

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Compulsion

COMPULSION

Compulsion is a mental pressure of internal origin compelling the subject to think, act, or react in accordance with specific modalities that do not coincide with his habitual patterns of thought. Freud used the German term Zwang to describe this concept. In an article written in French in 1894 ("Obsessions et phobies "), Freud used an equivalent term, obsession. The word "compulsion," attested in French as early as 1298, is derived from the Latin compulsio and originally signified a "constraint, a legal summons, or formal notice to pay." "Constraint" is somewhat older (twelfth century) and has the same legal connotation found in the expression "physical constraint." As for the term "obsession," which appeared later, its origin is both religious (possession) and military (siege). All three terms were used in the early literature on psychoanalysis to take into account the corresponding complex phenomenon: compulsion emphasized the internal origins of the phenomenon, constraint its immediate effect, and obsession described one of the most symptomatic consequences in the subject's life.

For Freud the German term Zwang is one of a series of analogous terms like drive, urge, or thrust, used to signify that the mental forces governing the human mind must be treated in the same way as other natural forces, even though their origin and meaning are radically different. The word was used in medical research in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century, and was first defined by Karl Friedrich Westphal in 1877. At the time the term corresponded to the way in which members of the Berlin Group (1840-1846), represented by Hermann von Helmholtz, approached the investigation of mental phenomena, first subjecting them to rigorous scientific observation, as they would any other phenomenon.

The term appeared in 1894 when Freud addressed what he referred to as the "psychoneuroses of defense" in a discussion of obsessional representations, to differentiate them from hysterical or phobic manifestations. Freud explains that the compulsive representation results from a "poor connection," whereby an affect arising from a repressed representation attaches itself to another representation (1894a). As in hysteria the repressed representation is of a sexual origin, but the compulsive representation is completely dissociated from it. In the Studies on Hysteria (1895d), Freud speaks of a "compulsion to associate." And on September 25, 1895, in his "Project for a Scientific Psychology" (1950a [1895]), he uses the term "compulsion" to refer to the impression produced by "hyperinvested representations" such as those that occur during hysteria, even referring to "hysterical obsession." The occurrence of these representations produces effects "that it is impossible to suppress or understand," the subject being completely aware of the strangeness of the situation. During this same period, he refers to compulsive affects (Zwangsaffekte ). In a letter to Wilhelm Fliess dated December 6, 1896, the term "compulsion" characterizes the return of the memory of a satisfying sexual experience, regardless of the clinical presentation in question. Finally, it is compulsion that pushes all human beings toward incest (letter to Fliess dated October 15, 1897, and An Outline of Psychoanalysis, 1940a [1938]).

The concept followed two separate paths in its evolution. Faithful to his initial intentions, Freud pursued his investigation of compulsion in obsessional neurosis, especially in his analysis of the "Rat Man" (1909d). The most symptomatic compulsion of this patient was the "rat torture," together with its obvious connotation of anal sadism. But the analysis revealed many others, such as the compulsion to protect his lady friend, "which can signify nothing other than a reaction to the contrary, and therefore hostile, tendency." He also refers to "two-stage compulsive acts," where the first is cancelled by the second, and points out the ambivalence. This simultaneity of internal compulsion and the struggle against what it entails is characteristic of compulsive neurosis and is what causes the unrelenting and exhausting struggle; it is this that led Pierre Janet to speak of "psychasthenia."

Subsequently, Freud made compulsion a key element of his metapsychology. It refers to what is ineradicable and insurmountable in the drive, the thing that must always be confronted. If it weren't for the possibility of change, this would not be unlike the idea of some inevitable destiny or hopeless determinism. For Freud, compulsion has the following characteristics: its dystonic quality with respect to the behavior or customary activities of the subject, the conviction of a disastrous outcome if it is not obeyed, and the promise of actual relief if it is allowed to proceed unrestricted.

The notion of compulsion was adopted by Freud's early disciples, especially Alfred Adler, who saw in it a reaction to a feeling of inferiority (1907). Melanie Klein attributes it to the activity of partial primary objects, as do Donald Winnicott and Wilfred Bion. Jacques Lacan considered compulsion an "object-cause of desire," which he formulated in terms of an "object a." For Jean Laplanche compulsion is the effect of "messages of enigmatic origin." These are accompanied by the progressive objectification of the foundations of the compulsion, and an increasingly greater effort at translating them into objects or representations.

Concepts that are similar to compulsion in the Freudian lexicon include pressure (Drang ), introduced by Freud in 1915 in the Metapsychology (1915c), which is the equivalent for each drive of what compulsion is in the totality of mental life. Similarly, an urge is the irrepressible fulfillment of an act during a moment of paroxysm, whereas the compulsion implies an internal obstacle to its fulfillment.

The Freudian idea of a constant and insistent force associated with certain thoughts is not without its drawbacks. It does reflect the speech of certain patients, especially during obsessional neurosis or cases of mental automatism (Gaëtan de Clérambault). But by emphasizing the element shared by all forms of internal compulsion, as Freud does in the Outline, the concept is sometimes used to justify exclusively medicinal or behaviorist approaches to treatment. The initial Freudian idea is, however, quite different. It attempts to reestablish the relational conditions that give rise to compulsion, to restore it to the internal setting in which it first took shape.

GÉrard Bonnet

See also: Bulimia; Change; Development of Psycho-Analysis ; Dipsomania; Excitation; Negative transference; Negative, work of the; "Notes Upon a Case of Obsessinal Neurosis (Rat Man); Obsessional neurosis; Obsession; Pleasure/unpleasure principle; "Remembering Repeating and Working-Through"; Repetition compulsion; Resistance.

Bibliography

Adler, Alfred. (1974). La pulsion d'agression dans la vie et dans la névrose. Revue française de psychanalyse, 38 (2-3), 417-426. (Original work published 1908)

Freud, Sigmund. (1894a). The neuro-psychoses of defence, SE, 3: 45-61.

Further Reading

Busch, Fred. (1989). The compulsion to repeat in action: a developmental perspective. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 70, 535-544.

Kubie, Lawrence S. (1939). A critical analysis of the concept of a repetition compulsion. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 20, 390-402.

Loewald, Hans W. (1971). Some considerations on repetition and repetition compulsion. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 52, 59-66.

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Compulsion

Compulsion

Definition

A compulsion is a repetitive, excessive, meaningless activity or mental exercise that a person performs in an attempt to avoid distress or worry.

Description

Compulsions are not voluntary activities and are not performed for pleasure. Instead, a person with a compulsion feels the need to engage in a particular behavior to relieve the stress and discomfort which would become overwhelming if the activity were not performed in a specific, repeated manner. Examples of compulsive motor activities are washing hands until raw, repeatedly checking the security of a locked door, and arranging and rearranging items in a set order. Some examples of compulsory mental acts are counting or silently repeating specific words. If a person troubled by compulsions is unable to perform such activities, stress and discomfort increase. The performance of the acts relieves distress but only temporarily.

Often, compulsions are not acts that could logically be expected to relieve or prevent the fears that inspire them. For example, a person might feel compelled to count numbers in a certain order to "undo" the perceived damage or threat that follows a thought or behavior. Or a person might check to make sure a door is locked every few minutes. Compulsions, in some cases, are attempts to undo obsessions and are usually not successful.

See also Obsession; Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Dean A. Haycock, Ph.D.

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compulsion

com·pul·sion / kəmˈpəlshən/ • n. 1. the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint: the payment was made under compulsion. 2. an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, esp. against one's conscious wishes.

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compulsion

compulsion XV. — (O)F. — late L. compulsiō, -ōn-, f. compuls-, pp. stem of compellere COMPEL; see -SION.
So compulsive XVII, compulsory XVI.

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compulsion

compulsion (kŏm-pul-shŏn) n. an obsession that takes the form of a motor act, such as repetitive washing based on a fear of contamination.

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compulsion

compulsionashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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Compulsion

COMPULSION

An imperative urge to perform against one's will an unreasonable act repetitiously in spite of knowledge that the act is senseless. Common compulsions are frequent handwashing, touching or counting certain objects, mas turbation, etc. Compulsions are characteristic of obsessive-compulsive neuroses. They can develop when resistance against obsessions in the preceding stage of the illness has diminished to such an extent that the motor act suggested in the obsession no longer can be prevented. Like obsessions, compulsions result from repeated repression over a long period of feelings that are mistakenly considered unacceptable, harmful, or morally wrong.

Since it is not the will, but the act of repression that is at the root of the compulsive acts, attempts to prevent them by willpower are of no avail and merely increase the tension associated with the compulsion. Although performance of the compulsive act relieves this tension temporarily, complete cure of the obsessive-compulsive neurosis, leading to true freedom of choice, is usually achieved by the individual through psychotherapy.

Bibliography: a. a. a. terruwe, The Neurosis in the Light of Rational Psychology, tr. c. w. baars, ed. j. aumann (New York 1960). a. p. noyes and l. c. kolb, Modern Clinical Psychiatry (6th ed. Philadelphia 1963). j. c. ford and g. a. kelly, Contemporary Moral Theology (Westminster, Md. 1958). f. j. braceland and m. stock, Modern Psychiatry (New York 1963).

[c. w. baars]

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Compulsion

Compulsion ★★★½ 1959

Artie Strauss (Dillman) is a motherdominated sadist who, along with submissive friend Judd Steiner (Stockwell), plan and execute a coldblooded murder. Flamboyant lawyer Jonathan Wilk (brilliantly portrayed by Welles) knows he has no defense so he attacks the system and establishment, seeking to at least save his clients from death. A suspenseful shocker with taut direction and a tight script. Based on the notorious 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder trial, also filmed as “Rope” and “Swoon.” 103m/B VHS, DVD . Orson Welles, Bradford Dillman, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, E.G. Marshall, Martin Milner, Richard Anderson, Robert F. Simon, Edward Binns, Robert Burton, Wilton Graff, Gavin MacLeod, Wendell Holmes; D: Richard Fleischer; W: Richard Murphy; C: William Mellor.

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Compulsion

Compulsion

Definition

Description

Resources

Definition

A compulsion is a behavior or mental act performed to help reduce anxiety or distress.

Description

Compulsions are not voluntary activities and are not performed for pleasure. Instead, a person with a compulsion feels the need to engage in a particular behavior to relieve the stress and discomfort which would become overwhelming if the activity were not performed in a specific, repeated manner. Examples of compulsive motor activities are washing hands until raw, repeatedly checking the security of a locked door, and arranging and rearranging items in a set order. Some examples of compulsory mental acts are counting or silently repeating specific words. If a person troubled by compulsions is unable to perform such activities, stress and discomfort increase. The performance of the acts relieves distress, but only temporarily.

Often, compulsions are not acts that could logically be expected to relieve or prevent the fears that inspire them. For example, a person might feel compelled to count numbers in a certain order to “undo” the perceived damage or threat that follows a thought or behavior. Or a person might check to make sure a door is locked every few minutes. Compulsions, in some cases, are attempts to undo obsessions and are usually not successful.

See alsoObsession; Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Resources

BOOKS

VandenBos, Gary R. (ed). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007.

Dean A. Haycock, Ph.D.
Ruth A. Wienclaw, Ph.D.

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Compulsion

Compulsion

Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Treatments for obsessive-compulsive illnesses

Resources

In psychiatric literature, compulsions are defined as repetitive behavior, such as hand washing, counting, touching, and checking and rechecking an action (like turning the light off and on again and again to be sure it is off or on). Performing the specific act relieves the tension of the obsession that the light may not be on or off. The person feels no pleasure from the action. On the contrary, the compulsive behavior and the obsession cause a great deal of distress for the person. Compulsive behavior differs from excessive or addictive behaviors, where the person feels pleasure from the activity, such as in compulsive eating or compulsive gambling.

The main concern of psychiatrists and therapists who treat people with compulsions is the role they play in a mental illness called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Compulsions must be distinguished from obsessions to understand how they interconnect with compulsive behavior and reinforce this debilitating illness.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders are panic attacks, agoraphobia (the fear of public places), phobias (fear of specific objects or situations), and certain stress disorders. This illness becomes increasingly more difficult to the patient and family because it tends to consume more and more of the individuals time and energy. While a person who is suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder is aware of how irrational or senseless the fear is, he or she is overwhelmed by the need to carry out compulsive behavior to avoid anxiety that is created otherwise.

Therapists categorize compulsions into motor compulsions and ideational or mental compulsions. A motor compulsion involves the need to use physical action. Touching or hand washing would be classified as motor compulsions. An ideational compulsion involves thinking processes. Examples of ideation or mental compulsions are counting, following a ritualized thought pattern, such as picturing specific things, or repeating what someone is saying in the mind.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

People with personality traits, like being a perfectionist or rigidly controlling, may not have OCD, but may have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. In this illness, the patient may spend excessive amounts of energy on details and lose perspective about the overall goals of a task or job. They become compulsively involved with performing the details but disregard larger goals.

Like obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder can be time-consuming. These people may be able to function successfully in a work environment but may make everyone else miserable by demanding excessive standards of perfection.

Treatments for obsessive-compulsive illnesses

Besides the compulsive behavior symptoms a person with OCD exhibits, he or she may also have physical

KEY TERMS

Anxiety disorder An illness in which anxiety plays a role.

Behavior therapy A therapeutic program that emphasizes changing behavior.

Cognitive therapy A therapeutic program that emphasizes changing a patients thinking.

Compulsive behavior Behavior that is driven by an obsession.

Diagnosis A careful evaluation by a medical professional or therapist to determine the nature of an illness or disorder.

Flooding Exposing a person with an obsession to his or her fears as a way of helping him or her face and overcome them.

Ideational or mental compulsions Compulsions of a mental nature, such as counting or repeating words.

Motor compulsions Compulsions where a specific, ritualized act is carried out.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder A mental illness in which a person is driven to compulsive behavior to relieve the anxiety of an obsession.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder The preoccupation with minor details to the exclusion of larger issues; exhibiting overcontrolling and perfectionistic attitudes.

Prompting and shaping A therapeutic technique that involves using a helper to work with a person suffering from compulsive slowness.

symptoms, such as tremors, dry mouth, stammering, dizziness, cramps, nausea, headaches, sweating, or butterflies in the stomach. Since these and the major symptoms are found in other illnesses, a careful diagnosis is important before treatment is prescribed. After careful physical and psychological diagnosis, treatment of obsessive-compulsive illnesses includes medications and therapies.

In behavior therapy, the patient is encouraged to control behavior, which the therapist feels can be accomplished with direction. The patient is also made to understand that thoughts cannot be controlled, but that when compulsive behavior is changed gradually through modified behavior, obsessive thoughts diminish. In this therapy, patients are exposed to the fears that produce anxiety in them, called flooding, and gradually learn to deal with their fears.

Cognitive therapists feel it is important for OCD patients to learn to think differently to improve their condition. Because OCD patients are rational, this type of therapy can sometimes be useful. Most professionals who treat obsessive-compulsive illnesses feel that acombination of therapy and medication is helpful. Some antidepressants, like Anafranil (clomipramine) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are prescribed to help alleviate the condition.

When patients exhibit compulsive slowness, prompting and shaping techniques are used. Persons who are compulsively slow work with a helper who prompts them along gradually until they can perform actions in a more reasonable time frame, such as reducing a two-hour morning grooming period to half an hour. The shaping aspect is the reduction of time.

Resources

Books

Amchin, Jess. Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Biopsychosocial Approach Using DSM-III-R. Washington, DC: Psychiatric Press, 1991.

Baer, Lee. Getting Control. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

Green, Stephen A.Green. Feel Good Again. Mt. Vernon,NY: Consumers Union, 1990.

Jamison, Kay Redfield. Touched with Fire. New York: Free Press, 1993.

Neziroglu, Fugen, and Jose A. Yaryura-Tobias. Over and Over Again. Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath, 1991.

Other

Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation. About OCD: What Is OCD? <http://www.ocfoundation.org/what-is-ocd.html> (accessed November 20, 2006).

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Obsession and Compulsion <http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/mentalemotionalhealth/ment3160.html> (accessed November 20, 2006).

Vita Richman

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Compulsion

Compulsion

The main concern of psychiatrists and therapists who treat people with compulsions is the role they play in a mental illness called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Compulsions need to be distinguished from obsessions in order to understand how they interconnect with compulsive behavior and reinforce this debilitating illness.

In psychiatric literature, compulsions are defined as repetitive behavior, such as hand washing, counting, touching, and checking and rechecking an action (like turning the light off and on again and again to be sure it is off or on). Performing the specific act relieves the tension of the obsession that the light may not be on or off. The person feels no pleasure from the action. On the contrary, the compulsive behavior and the obsession cause a great deal of distress for the person.

Compulsive behavior also needs to be distinguished from excessive or addictive behaviors where the person feels pleasure from the activity, such as in compulsive eating or compulsive gambling.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders are panic attacks, agoraphobia (the fear of public places), phobias (fear of specific objects or situations), and certain stress disorders. This illness becomes increasingly more difficult to the patient and family because it tends to consume more and more of the individual's time and energy . While a person who is suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder is aware of how irrational or senseless the fear is, he or she is overwhelmed by the need to carry out compulsive behavior in order to avoid anxiety that is created if the behavior is not carried out.

Therapists categorize compulsions into motor compulsions and ideational or mental compulsions. A motor compulsion involves the need to use physical action. Touching or hand washing would be classified as motor compulsions. An ideational compulsion involves thinking processes. Examples of ideation or mental compulsions are counting, following a ritualized thought pattern, such as picturing specific things, or repeating what someone is saying in the mind.


Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

People with personality traits, like being a perfectionist or rigidly controlling, may not have OCD, but may have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. In this illness, the patient may spend excessive amounts of energy on details and lose perspective about the overall goals of a task or job. They become compulsively involved with performing the details but disregard larger goals.

Like obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder can be time-consuming. The compulsive personality may be able to function successfully in a work environment but may make everyone else miserable by demanding excessive standards of perfection.


Treatments for obsessive-compulsive illnesses

The problem for treatment of obsessive-compulsive illnesses must follow careful diagnosis of the specific nature of the disorder.

Methods used to treat these illnesses include a careful physical and psychological diagnosis, medications, and therapies. Besides the compulsive behavior symptoms a person with OCD exhibits, he or she may also have physical symptoms, such as tremors, dry mouth, stammering, dizziness, cramps, nausea, headaches, sweating, or butterflies in the stomach. Since these and the major symptoms are found in other illnesses, a careful diagnosis is important before treatment is prescribed.

In behavior therapy, the patient is encouraged to control behavior, which the therapist feels can be accomplished with direction. The patient is also made to understand that thoughts cannot be controlled, but that when compulsive behavior is changed gradually through modified behavior, obsessive thoughts diminish. In this therapy, patients are exposed to the fears that produce anxiety in them, called flooding , and gradually learn to deal with their fears.

Cognitive therapists feel it is important for OCD patients to learn to think differently in order to improve their condition. Because OCD patients are rational, this type of therapy can sometimes be useful. Most professionals who treat obsessive-compulsive illnesses feel that a combination of therapy and medication is helpful. Some antidepressants, like Anafranil (clomipramine) and Prozac (fluoxetine), are prescribed to help alleviate the condition.

When patients exhibit compulsive slowness, prompting and shaping techniques are used. Persons who are compulsively slow work with a helper who prompts them along gradually until they can perform actions in a more reasonable time frame, such as reducing a two-hour morning grooming period to half an hour. The shaping aspect is the reduction of time.

Resources

books

Amchin, Jess. Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Biopsychosocial Approach Using DSM-III-R. Washington, DC: Psychiatric Press, 1991.

Baer, Lee. Getting Control. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

Green, Stephen A. Green. Feel Good Again. Mt. Vernon, NY: Consumers Union, 1990.

Jamison, Kay Redfield. Touched with Fire. New York: Free Press, 1993.

Neziroglu, Fugen, and Jose A. Yaryura-Tobias. Over and Over Again. Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath, 1991.


Vita Richman

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Anxiety disorder

—An illness in which anxiety plays a role.

Behavior therapy

—A therapeutic program that emphasizes changing behavior.

Cognitive therapy

—A therapeutic program that emphasizes changing a patient's thinking.

Compulsive behavior

—Behavior that is driven by an obsession.

Diagnosis

—A careful evaluation by a medical professional or therapist to determine the nature of an illness or disorder.

Flooding

—Exposing a person with an obsession to his or her fears as a way of helping him or her face and overcome them.

Ideational or mental compulsions

—Compulsions of a mental nature, such as counting or repeating words.

Motor compulsions

—Compulsions where a specific, ritualized act is carried out.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

—A mental illness in which a person is driven to compulsive behavior to relieve the anxiety of an obsession.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

—The preoccupation with minor details to the exclusion of larger issues; exhibiting overcontrolling and perfectionistic attitudes.

Prompting and shaping

—A therapeutic technique that involves using a helper to work with a person suffering from compulsive slowness.

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http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.