worry for a short while, and the obsessions begin again. The disorder
may be genetically or chemically caused to some extent (relatives of
these patients are five times more likely--10%--than normal--1 or
2%--to have similar symptoms); the symptoms tend to develop before
18. Drug treatment, such as Anafranil or Prozac, helps about 60% of
the time (see a MD). Known as the "doubting disease," these patients
can't be sure they have washed all the germs off their hands or that
they have locked all the doors and windows. The obsessions are
frequently "primitive," i.e. about being clean or safe, and, thus, may
be a throwback to early ancestors.
Another factor in this disorder is the impact the compulsions have
on family members, e.g. they help the patient with the excessive
cleaning or arranging, they avoid using a part of the house to make
the patient more comfortable, they become a part of the patient's
rituals, they give in to the patient's unreasonable demands
(Calvocorressi, 1995). It is unknown, at this time, how much this
accommodation by the family reinforces the compulsive behavior.
Behavior therapy usually involves deliberately getting your hands dirty
and not washing all day or intentionally leaving doors and windows
unlocked for a few nights (Baer, 1991). This could be done as self-
Since it usually causes great anxiety if the compulsion is not
performed, we will deal with this disorder in chapter 5.
Passivity is covered in chapters 8 and 13 (Method #3).
Procrastination is dealt with extensively earlier in this chapter.
Psychotic behavior is not something the person, friends, or
relatives can ordinarily deal with; professional help at a Mental Health
Center is needed right away. Medication and psychotherapy can help.
Satisfying but unwanted responses, e.g. critical or bragging
comments, being loud, flirtatious, or bossy, can be replaced with more
desirable behaviors. Coaching and practice are needed.
More Specific Problems,
Sexual addiction: is very hard to define. There is a thin line between
the normal and the abnormal. For example, thinking about sex a lot,
say many times every day, is not ordinarily considered an addiction
(maybe an obsession) but spending several hours a week looking at