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What is the difference between an obsession and a compulsion?

HippoCampus Psychology
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Obsessions are mostly thoughts that can be very distressing and compulsions are the acts that temporarily relieve the distress of an obsessive thought.
Obsessions can completely preoccupy the mind, with little ability to think of anything other than that particular subject or issue at any given time. In other words, an obsession permeates every situation the individual is in and it the person sometimes finds a way to integrate a personal obsession into a situation. It can greatly interfere (and usually does) with a balanced lifestyle. Compulsions are the actual behavior that can arise (not always, though) from an obsession. Many compulsions are subconscious and little conscious awareness is given as to the reason to do a certain thing; the individual simple feels better (tension relieved) when a compulsion is acted upon. That's just my understanding of these terms.
Forget that "it" inappropriately placed between the "and" and "the".

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Other answers:

Obsessions and compulsions are pretty similar. You can look at the compare and contrast chart on wiki

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