Baby Boomers Guide to Types of Obsession and How They Can Affect Us by

This series of articles from Boomer Yearbook explores the fascinating and varied behavioral patterns that occur through obsession; the dangers of leaving an obsession untreated and the coaching solutions available: Boomer Yearbook’s Guide and Coaching Strategy for the baby boomer generation.


Psychological Articles on Elderly Problems


Obsession is one of the more painful and distorted aspects of passion; closely associated with a range of emotions such as hate; love; joy and despair. Emotional conflict is often a feature of obsession and it is possible that an obsessive episode will encompass extremes of all four of the emotions mentioned. Baby boomers entering middle to older age will certainly have encountered obsession in one of its many forms at some time in their lives. The experience of obsession, both for the obsessed and for the target of his or her emotion, can be unpleasant and frightening.

Most baby boomers have seen romantic or sexual obsession illustrated either in literature or on film and we can all relate to the fear and outrage felt as a person is stalked; pestered and generally bullied into being sociable with someone they either dislike or have no interest in.

Psychological articles list other obsessive behavioral traits that might include an over developed passion for work (a person unable to relate normally to others unless they are in a work related environment - workaholics compelled to restrict every activity to work); parents who feel a targeting emotion for a child, setting their affections for their other children aside to pursue an obsessive interest in one particular child; or material obsession, which involves becoming consumed with an interest in material possessions.

Obsession is simply an overwhelming and irresistible passion that excludes all else and most baby boomers have been on the receiving end of unwelcome attention from an admirer at some time, or even themselves been personally obsessed with a person or thing. Obsessions are rarely satisfied and romantic or sexual obsession might be experienced as a ‘one off’, targeting one particular person: the same feelings of obsession might not be present with previous or subsequent partners.

Obsession might also become a fixed personality disorder, with every romantic or sexual relationship being conducted in the same obsessive way, leading to the relationship being terminated by the subject and occasionally, in extreme cases, involving court injunctions to prevent the obsessed person from gaining access to his or her victim. Psychological articles confirm that being the object of another person’s obsessive desires can be frightening and even life threatening if the problem is not addressed effectively.

Obsession might involve a particular item or person in the life of the average baby boomer. A man might have a strange and obsessive affection for his car that he does not feel for anything or anyone else to such a degree. This kind of obsessive interest in a possession might be overlooked by a partner but it is nonetheless a mild obsession, which luckily is unlikely to affect anyone else and is therefore accepted as ‘quirkiness’. Such an interest might actually intensify as each new car is acquired, to the extent that a car becomes inadequate for its original purpose as the owner refuses to allow certain people to travel in it and keeps the car under shelter from the rain, shopping malls, or even highway driving! While some kinds of obsessive thinking can be quite common, if stepped over the line to meet the DSM-IV Criteria of Obseesive Compulsive Disorder, it is rarely if ever healthy and may indeed warrant professional help.



DSM IV Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Criteria

A. Either obsessions or compulsions:

Obsessions as defined by (1), (2), (3), and (4):

(1) recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress

(2) the thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems

(3) the person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action

(4) the person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind (not imposed from without as in thought insertion)

Compulsions as defined by (1) and (2):

(1) repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly

(2) the behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive

B. At some point during the course of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. Note: This does not apply to children.

C. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming (take more than 1 hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or usual social activities or relationships.

D. I another Axis I disorder is present, the content of the obsessions or compulsions is not restricted to it (e.g., preoccupation with food in the presence of an Eating Disorder; hair pulling in the presence of Trichotillomania; concern with appearance in the presence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; preoccupation with drugs in the presence of a Substance Use Disorder; preoccupation with having a serious illness in the presence of Hypochondriasis; preoccupation with sexual urges or fantasies in the presence of a Paraphilia; or guilty ruminations in the presence of Major Depressive Disorder).

E. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition. DSM IV Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Criteria




The Psychological Article on Types of Obsession and How They Can Affect Us is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of baby boomers psychological coaching tips and how to alleviate elderly problems. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is a Social Network and Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!


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