In psychoanalytic terms, is a thought blocking defence mechanism that involves the symptom of repetitive or compulsive action or thought often manifesting as ritualistic or symbolic portrayal of the main cause of the anxiety. e.g, intense hand washing derived from a heightened sense of guilt.

OCNA further example being Pontius Pilot’s symbolic washing of his hands regarding the sentence of death by crucifixion passed down on Jesus Christ at his trial. The repetitive action of washing the hands (also witnessed in Shakespeare’s MacBeth) blocks the mind from being overwhelmed by feelings of guilt.

The obsessive and compulsive requirement to avoid stepping on the cracks in the pavement blocking the thoughts of anxiety that flood the persons mind should the person think about their real everyday issues for too long.

Although Obsessive Compulsive behaviour is obviously a debilitating symptom in itself, generally Obsessive Compulsive behaviour is regarded as a secondary symptom to free-floating anxiety; eg, a generalised feeling of apprehension attached to a traumatic event / situation or a reaction to anxiety evoking everyday issues.

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