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ritual

Another word for compulsive behavior, which can be a behavior that others can see, or a hidden or unseen mental behavior. Many mental health professionals will identify anything that reduces one's anxiety as a ritual. For example, although avoidance behavior is done to avoid the trigger altogether, it still is the same as an outright ritual, in that it is an attempt to reduce anxiety.

Definition by Carol Hevia, Psy.D., reproduced with permission from International OCD Foundation.

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