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OCD and Uncertainty

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These are difficult times. Lately, it seems, each week brings with it something truly horrifying. A shooting or an act of terrorism, a hate crime committed against an individual, a disease that affects the unborn. You can hardly turn on the news without hearing about something that incites fear. Yet… We get up every day and go about our normal lives. We get in the car, we drive to work, we come home to our families. We live as if we are untouchable. Technically, we’re not, but we’re often happiest when we live as if we are. Some of us do this easily. The awareness of our own fragility doesn’t linger. Others of us are tortured by possibilities. What if this happens to me? What if this happens to someone I love? OCD brings with it superhuman attention to...

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ROCD

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Although ROCD is often characterized by intrusive worries about your relationship, relationship OCD treatment often specifically targets the compulsions and avoidance behaviors related to ROCD (rather than the obsessions themselves). This is because ROCD treatment is based on the premise that compulsions and avoidance behaviors are what strengthen and maintain the condition. In the absence of rituals and avoidance, relationship OCD symptoms tend to diminish and weaken over time. This general principle is true for all types of OCD, not just ROCD. As a quick refresher, this multi-part series of posts on rOCD (aka “relationship OCD”) discusses obsessive thoughts that are common in rOCD, ROCD intrusive impulses and images, ROCD compulsions and avoidance behaviors [THIS PART!], and ROCD in non-romantic relationships [FORTHCOMING!]. Let’s get to it. What are common ROCD compulsions? ROCD (Relationship OCD) & Compulsions/Avoidance Behaviors Compulsions are...

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Relationship OCD (rOCD) – Unwanted Impulses & Images

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This multi-part series of posts will focus primarily on rOCD, also known as “relationship OCD.” Part 1 focused on obsessive thoughts that are common in rOCD. This part discusses other relationship OCD obsessions, including intrusive impulses and images. Part 3 will review common compulsions and avoidance behaviors that are typical in rOCD (relationship OCD). Part 4 will discuss “Relationship-Focused OCD” more broadly in the context of other types of relationships, including friendships, parent-child relationships, and professional relationships. As I mentioned in my previous post on rOCD, many people with “relationship OCD” experience recurrent doubts about whether or not they are with the “right” person. Many also infer that if they have doubts about their current relationship, they might secretly want to cheat (or will cheat). They may fear that they will be unfaithful, even if they’re committed to their...

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ROCD – Relationship OCD

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In a previous post on mental checking, I talked briefly about ROCD (Relationship OCD), a form of OCD that involves pervasive doubt and uncertainty about interpersonal relationships. This multi-part series of posts will focus primarily on ROCD in the context of romantic relationships. However, it will also discuss “Relationship-Focused OCD” more broadly in the context of other types of relationships, including friendships, parent-child relationships, and professional relationships. Relationship OCD (ROCD) in Romantic Relationships Many individuals with ROCD have symptoms that are most evident in their romantic relationships. They often experience significant doubt and distress about their chosen partners and may have a history of repeatedly breaking up or ending relationships due to recurrent doubts. ROCD sufferers may worry that they’re with the wrong person, that they don’t feel as emotionally connected to their partner as they should, or that...

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OCD & Pets: Sexual Thoughts & Scrupulosity

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Obsessions focusing on pets and animals incorporate all the common themes: contamination, checking, harm, scrupulosity, and sex. In this 3-part blog series, I’ll discuss some of the common ways obsessions may target our lovable, snuggable friends. Part 1 focused on harm obsessions, including the fear of accidental and intentional harm, and Part 2 covered contamination obsessions. This final part, Part 3, will address sexual obsessions and scrupulosity, as they pertain to pets. Our animals are members of our family. We treat them as our own. It’s not surprising, then, that OCD extends unwanted thoughts to our furry, fluffy companions. OCD loves to attach taboo thoughts to things we love, and our pets are no exception. Just as many parents struggle with obsessions that target their children (e.g., What if I secretly want to harm my child?; What if I...

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ERP Tip of the Day #2

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It’s ERP tip time. This series of posts focuses on tips to enhance the effectiveness of your exposure and response prevention (ERP). If you’re interested in more ERP tips, click the following link for all the posts in this series. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Tips for OCD Without further ado, here’s another ERP tip to consider when designing your next exposure. ERP Tip #2 When completing your next exposure, avoid rules that dictate what you’re allowed to think during the exposure. If you try to complete an exposure without having a certain bad thought, chances are that you’re setting yourself up to think that very thought. Instead, design your exposure around having that very same unwanted thought. I love it when people with OCD do exposure, but I don’t love it when they have a long list of...

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