I think I have OCD.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m so OCD!” or maybe “You’re so OCD!”? The term “OCD” is often thrown around in social circles when someone is extremely tidy or a perfectionist. But, the reality is OCD can manifest itself through a variety of ways. OCD is a disorder that is not limited to handwashing or having items on a desk in a straight line. Often, OCD first presents itself through mental obsessions that impact one’s behavior.

One presentation of mental obsessions is fear of harming another person. Specifically – murder, molestation, sexual assault, hit and run in a car or ignoring hazards that might ultimately hurt someone. The following examples outline the mental obsession (the fear) and the behavioral response that might follow for someone who has OCD:

  • Do I want to stab and kill my roommate?
    • A person with OCD may avoid holding a knife in the kitchen when around the roommate.
  • Am I a child molester?
    • A person with OCD might avoid being around kids.
  • Did I just run over somebody while driving?
    • A person with OCD might circle a block several times to check if someone has been run over.
  • Will I sexually assault a woman in a crowded area?
    • A person with OCD might avoid walking close to other pedestrians.
  • Did I not pick up dangerous trash on the ground that a child could choke on?
    • A person with OCD might compulsively check the ground and pick up small pieces of trash.

A person who truly has OCD is one of the least likely persons to harm another. Yet, they obsess frequently and sometimes incessantly over whether they can know for sure that they won’t ever do a certain harmful behavior.

Signs someone may be suffering from OCD:

  1. Increased worry. Specifically related to the above mental obsessions.
  2. Seeking reassurance. This can include compulsive checking that they didn’t follow through with the above feared behaviors.
  3. Is your loved one pulling away displaying quiet seemingly intense thinking?

The good news? There are therapeutic solutions for healing from OCD. Someone with OCD suffering from these fears is not going crazy. A form of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP) has proven to be an effective treatment to reduce these fears and compulsive behaviors in individuals. At Restoration we have counselors that can use this treatment method for OCD. For more information on OCD you can visit the International OCD Foundation at https://iocdf.org/


Author:

Brandon Stewart MA, LPC, BCN, CSAT