Obsessions


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

Obsessions

 

(obsessive states; anankastic state), ideas, memories, fears, and tendencies that arise persistently and irresistibly in human beings and are often distressing to the individual but are not accompanied by loss of ego. Actions, as well as thoughts, may be obsessive.

Obsessions are observed with neuroses and other diseases, but they are also encountered in healthy persons suffering from fatigue, for example. The patient acknowledges the pathological character of these phenomena, relates to them critically, and strives to rid himself of them. This distinguishes obsessions from delirium, which completely dominates the personality.

Patients often engage in fruitless arguments on banal topics (for example, why theearth is round), indulge in worthless philosophizing, or “rumination,” or spend time on purposeless counting (for example, of the steps of a staircase, the number of steps walked, or the number of street lights). Obsessional personalities frequently have thoughts that are in conflict with their actual feelings—for example, a loving mother may be obsessed with thoughts of harming children. They may experience torturous doubts concerning the correctness of their actions (for example—Did I turn off the gas? Did I lock the door?). As a result, they are driven to repeated verification of their actions. Fear is common in obsessive personalities (for example, fear of blushing in company, of forgetting a prepared speech, of falling ill, of dying, and even “fear of fear”—that is, fear that fear will arise). Patients are often drawn to but do not as a rule carry out absurd actions, such as plunging into water.

Often the patient seeks to overcome his obsessions by elaborating stereotypical “incantations” and preventive actions that are sometimes extremely complex (rituals). Basically, these only enrich the patient’s catalog of obsessions. The vocabulary of obsessions (anthropophobias, bacteriophobias, manias, and so forth) is extremely rich and includes more than 400 terms. There is no single point of view on the origin of obsessions. Treatment involves psychotherapy, especially when there is neurosis. Medication and general restorative treatment are also prescribed.

REFERENCE

Sviadoshch, A. M. Nevrozy i ikh lechenie, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.

B. I. FRANKSHTEIN

References in periodicals archive ?
Common obsessions include fears about dirt, germs and contamination; fears of acting out violent or aggressive thoughts or impulses; unreasonable fears of harming others, especially loved ones.
Straus applies the method called 'structural analysis' to contamination obsessions and points out that the basic phenomenon in this psychopathological condition is the emotion of disgust.
Other types of OCD associated with disgust include contamination obsessions, religious obsessions (impure thoughts) and possibly disease avoidance.
Every show he did from the early '70s until the very end was defined as "spiritual guest work," made in the service of "a possible visualization of a museum of obsessions." The only museum Szeemann was truly interested in, he said, was the one in his own head: an imaginary, other worldly entity, a kind of utopian sphere that actual exhibitions could only hint at.
But With or Without You draws on a different illusion of love society has made for itself: obsession. She addresses the many obsessions of our modern age: money, love, status, fame, celebrities, beauty, crime, and even obsession itself.
These rituals are actually compulsions, repetitive behaviors that are responses to obsessions.
Static is reported from the Hubba encampment, where insiders relate of a drastic change in "Buffalo" Keith Cochrane's obsessions. Keith's well-known obsession with bagging trophy animal horns seems to have shifted into an odd predilection for collecting outsized dubs.
John Najemy's essay on Leon Battista Alberti's Della famiglia as a parody and a critique of Florentine obsessions with patrilineal succession drives a stake into the heart of the argument that Alberti shared the blatant misogyny of his least lovable interlocutors.
In order to clarify what he means by the punctum, Barthes must let us in on his private and unconscious obsessions. The straps on a woman's shoes, a boy's bad teeth, a girl's bandaged finger: these are the partial features that linger in his fetishistic imagination after examining a series of photographs.
Let no doubt remain about this city's obsession with strange characters and dark obsessions.
Worringly that's exactly what Denis Avner, featured in BBC show Obsessions, has done.