Compulsive behavior is defined as performing an act persistently and repetitively without it leading to an actual reward or pleasure. Compulsive behaviors could be an attempt to make obsessions go away. The act is usually a small, restricted and repetitive behavior, yet not disturbing in a pathological way. Compulsive behaviors are a need to reduce apprehension caused by internal feelings a person wants to abstain or control. A major cause of the compulsive behaviors is said to be obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).

Plenty of people suffer from one form of compulsive behavior or another. There’s compulsive shopping, hoarding, eating, gambling, or even pulling one’s hair out. And, of course, there is garden variety obsessive compulsiveness. When a person has a compulsion, he is trapped in a pattern of repetitive and senseless thinking–and these behaviors can prove quite difficult to overcome.

In order to be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person’s obsessiveness and intrusive thoughts must be accompanied by compulsive behavior, whether it’s mental (telling yourself It’ll be all right over and over again) or physical (hand-washing, straightening items).

Obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior become a full-blown disorder when the need to complete the behaviors—also known as “rituals”—begins to drive your life.

Overcoming compulsive behaviors can be extremely challenging. If you struggle with an addiction, not only do you experience physical cravings, but you probably have come to depend on the behavior mentally and emotionally as well. In other words, you probably turn to the compulsive behavior in an effort to cope with emotionally taxing situations. However, the compulsive behavior serves as a poor substitute for stress reduction, social connection, sleep, etc. In fact, the compulsive behavior leads to feelings of shame, and shame only keeps you stuck in the compulsive behavior.

It is clear that compulsive activities relieve anxiety in the craving brain. You may be one of those people who abuse pleasurable activities like spending, eating, gambling and escaping from worries by spending hours at the computer to avoid the pain of the problems of living. The substance or behavior soon seems to be a solution to all problems. Life problems become harder to cope with as stress accumulates year after year.

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