Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprising truth about obsessive-compulsive thinking

Date:
April 8, 2014
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
People who check whether their hands are clean or imagine their house might be on fire are not alone. New global research shows that 94 percent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and/or impulses. The study people on six continents, and found that the thoughts, images and impulses symptomatic of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are widespread.

For researchers developing effective evidence-based mental health treatments, recognizing how widespread intrusive thoughts are can also offer encouragement to use cognitive and behavioral therapies cross-culturally.
Credit: © Kalim / Fotolia

People who check whether their hands are clean or imagine their house might be on fire are not alone. New research from Concordia University and 15 other universities worldwide shows that 94 per cent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and/or impulses.

The international study, which was co-authored by Concordia psychology professor Adam Radomsky and published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, examined people on six continents.

Radomsky and his colleagues found that the thoughts, images and impulses symptomatic of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are widespread.

"This study shows that it's not the unwanted, intrusive thoughts that are the problem -- it's what you make of those thoughts," Radomsky says. "And that's at the heart of our cognitive and behavioral interventions for helping people overcome OCD."

This means therapists can focus on applying effective treatments that will work cross-culturally.

As Radomsky points out, "Confirming that these thoughts are extremely common helps us reassure patients who may think that they are very different from everybody else."

"For instance, most people who have an intrusive thought about jumping off a balcony or a metro platform would tell themselves that it's a strange or silly thing to think, whereas a person with OCD may worry that the thought means they're suicidal. OCD patients experience these thoughts more often and are more upset by them, but the thoughts themselves seem to be indistinguishable from those occurring in the general population."

For researchers developing effective evidence-based mental health treatments, recognizing how widespread these intrusive thoughts are can also offer encouragement to use cognitive and behavioral therapies cross-culturally.

"We're more similar than we are different," says Radomsky. "People with OCD and related problems are very much like everyone else."

About the study

The researchers assessed 777 university students in 13 countries across six continents, including in Canada, Argentina, Australia, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Iran, Israel, Italy, Sierra Leone, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Participants were questioned about whether they had experienced at least one unwanted, intrusive thought in the three months prior. To ensure participants reported intrusions, researchers worked with them to distinguish between lingering worries, ruminations about previous events and unwanted intrusions. These can be a phrase ("Did I lock the front door?"), an image (a mental picture of the subject's house on fire) or an urge (for instance, a desire to hurt someone). Contamination, aggression and doubt were among the many types of intrusive thoughts reported by participants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard Moulding, Meredith E. Coles, Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Gillian M. Alcolado, Pino Alonso, Amparo Belloch, Martine Bouvard, David A. Clark, Guy Doron, Héctor Fernández-Álvarez, Gemma García-Soriano, Marta Ghisi, Beatriz Gómez, Mujgan Inozu, Adam S. Radomsky, Giti Shams, Claudio Sica, Gregoris Simos, Wing Wong. Part 2. They scare because we care: The relationship between obsessive intrusive thoughts and appraisals and control strategies across 15 cities. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jocrd.2014.02.006

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Surprising truth about obsessive-compulsive thinking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408122137.htm>.
Concordia University. (2014, April 8). Surprising truth about obsessive-compulsive thinking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408122137.htm
Concordia University. "Surprising truth about obsessive-compulsive thinking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408122137.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) — We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins