Obsessive thoughts are best characterized as persistent and unwanted thoughts, images or impulses that keep coming back despite your effort not to have them. They are often unpleasant, distasteful or even repugnant. They can include thoughts of being contaminated by dirt or germs, of harming loved ones, of unwanted sexual thoughts, or feeling responsible for terrible events. Obsessive thoughts produce anxiety, which some individuals try to control through various compulsive behaviours. These behaviours are often performed repeatedly until the anxiety subsides. Common compulsions include repetitive checking (e.g. stove, locks, taps), excessive or ritualised washing/showering or meticulous ordering/arranging.
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