The term obsessional neurosis denotes a condition in which the patient’s mind is intruded upon (against his or her will) by images, ideas, or words. The patient’s consciousness nevertheless remains lucid and his or her power to reason remains intact. These uncontrollable obsessions are experienced as morbid at the same time they temporarily deprive the individual of freedom of thought and action.

In some cases, obsessional neurosis is developed from other neuroses. To avoid this danger, the subject activates a series of strategies in a careful and meticulous way.When they become too rigid they mark, in fact, the transition from phobias to obsessive neurosis. In this sense, the fear of dirt, a typical subject’s phobic, can be transformed into the ritual of washing its hands, going well beyond the need to be cleaned; becoming a real constraint. In some cases, the subject does not want to lose contact with the drive removed, but tends to live in disguise and excessively: the fear of high places can turn to an obsession jumping from great heights, thus exhibiting a behavior counterphobic.

A typical element and well observable in obsessional neurosis is the impulse to obey an internal command. The subject would not, in some cases, act as coercion imposes on it, but feels powerless in its will because a strong internal unknown force orders its to show that certain behavior, and no other. In other cases, the subject would like to do something but it feels compelled to change its target. In these cases, is the superego instance that commands: the ego of the subject feels compelled to obey a stronger entity and more influential than itself, similar to a child felt dominated by the parents.