Compulsive act

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Classification according to ICD-10
F42.1 Predominantly compulsive acts
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Obsessive-compulsive act is an act which, in the context of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, is forced upon the person concerned involuntarily and against his will.


The compulsion are often obsessive thoughts underlying which are repelled by the action: When washing compulsion , for. For example, for fear of bacteria and dirt, the person feels an overwhelming urge to constantly wash their hands or entire body, even though the skin is damaged by the scrubbing. The affected person does have an insight into his state of illness , but since he cannot let go of his compulsive actions, he experiences this state as painful.

Mild compulsions, such as B. the compulsion to collect , can be incorporated into normal life. In extreme cases, it is no longer possible for the person concerned to work or go out of the house. This can happen in the case of a pronounced compulsion to control , in which the person concerned z. B. constantly checked the already locked door, or if you were forced to clean the tiles incessantly, be the case. With kleptomania , the compulsion to steal, the person concerned can come into conflict with the law. The shopping addiction is counted among the constraints; it can lead to over-indebtedness and theft.

The suffering often leads those affected to confide in a psychotherapist .

Compulsive acts can also include drug- related acts . Here, however, a differential diagnosis has to be made: addiction has a subjective meaning for the addict. The person affected by a pathological compulsive act, on the other hand, recognizes the nonsense of his compulsive act. He does it anyway, because failure to do so (also when prevented by a third party) causes enormous fears .

In contrast to the compulsive actions described above, in an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder the actions are experienced as largely ego-synton .

Individual evidence

  2. Compulsive Personality Disorder


  • Hans Reinecker: Compulsive Actions and Obsessive Thoughts . Hogrefe, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-8017-2055-1 .