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OCD Core Fears Related to Body-Focused Obsessions & Compulsions (e.g., Swallowing, Breathing, Blinking)

Body-Focused OCD (Swallowing, Breathing, Blinking)

People with body-focused, sensorimotor OCD often worry about the underlying causes of their symptoms and how long their symptoms will last.

This post is the second in a series of posts discussing body-focused obsessions and compulsions (aka, sensorimotor, somatosensory, or somatic obsessions and compulsions) in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This series was inspired by an original article written by Dr. David Keuler for Beyond OCD. You can access Dr. Keuler’s excellent article here.

OCD Core Fears Related to Body-Focused Obsessions (also called Sensorimotor or Somatic Obsessions)

In Part 1 of this series of posts, I discussed the basic characteristics of body-focused (also termed sensorimotor [Keuler, 2011], somatosensory, or somatic) OCD. This type of OCD is extremely distressing and is associated with hyperawareness of particular bodily processes, urges, or sensations. Obsessions and compulsions often focus on breathing, swallowing, tongue movements, blinking, or other bodily phenomena (Keuler, 2011).

In clinical terminology, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a heterogeneous disorder. This means that different people have different combinations of OCD symptoms. Despite this variability, many individuals with body-focused, sensorimotor OCD share common fears related to their symptoms.

OCD worry about having the symptoms last forever (Keuler, 2011).
  • What if my symptoms never go away, and I have to live the rest of my life like this?
  • What if life is never satisfying again?
  • What if I can never engage in [insert specific activity] without thinking about this? (Common examples include sleeping, eating, speaking, reading, or writing.)
  • What if I lose my job (or fail out of school) because of this?
  • What if I can never focus again?
  • What if I can never sleep again?
  • What if my mind is never “at peace” again?
OCD worry about the underlying cause of the symptoms.
  • Why am I having these symptoms? There must be something seriously wrong with me.
  • What if I have a brain tumor that is causing these symptoms?
  • What if I have schizophrenia or another type of severe mental illness?
  • What if I have brain damage in the parts of my brain that control these processes (e.g., the medulla oblongata or cerebellum)?
OCD worry about specific feared outcomes.
  • What if I choke and die because I didn’t chew my food enough?
  • What if my heart stops beating?
  • What if my heart is beating at the wrong rate?
  • What if there’s something wrong with my heart?
  • What if I stop breathing?
  • What if I’m breathing at the wrong rate?
  • What if there’s something wrong with my lungs?
  • What if I’m damaging my eye muscles because I’m blinking too quickly (or slowly)?
  • What if toxic levels of carbon dioxide are accumulating in my lungs because I’m not exhaling enough CO2?
  • What if I embarrass myself because I’m so stuck in my head that I miss what other people are saying to me?
  • What if I can’t enunciate properly or trip over my words because I’m paying too much attention to my tongue?
  • I wouldn’t be paying attention to this if there wasn’t something to worry about.
  • If other people find out I’m thinking about this, they’ll think I’m crazy.

Interestingly, although common to sensorimotor OCD, this last cluster of fears can sometimes be used to differentiate body-focused OCD from more classic OCD presentations and other anxiety disorders. Sensorimotor OCD tends to be primarily associated with perceiving bodily processes, sensations, and urges, rather than specific feared outcomes. To take swallowing as an example, some individuals may fear choking and/or potential death. Others may fear the potential embarrassment of needing to be rescued by the Heimlich maneuver. Still others worry their attention will be permanently stuck on perceiving the urge to swallow. These last individuals are highly attuned to how their mouths and throats feel physically and often obsess about how often or how completely they have swallowed. They may also spit frequently and avoid wearing clothing that touches or constricts the neck (e.g., jewelry, turtlenecks, dress shirts).

Although all of the preceding examples may be consistent with OCD, the last example (i.e., hyperawareness of the urge to swallow) most clearly represents a body-focused, sensorimotor obsession. Fear of choking and/or fear of needing the Heimlich maneuver involve bodily processes, but the primary fear is death and/or embarrassment rather than being stuck with what feels like an inescapable urge. Although this distinction is fairly subtle, it is critical when selecting an appropriate treatment. Exposure with response prevention (ERP) therapy should always target a specific core OCD fear. In addition to OCD, other potential rule-out diagnoses for the first two fears might include phagophobia or social anxiety (social phobia), respectively. As will be discussed in a subsequent post, medical causes for these symptoms (e.g., neurological conditions) must also be assessed and ruled out before attributing these symptoms to OCD.

In the next installment of this series, I will discuss treatment strategies for body-focused sensorimotor obsessions and compulsions. Sadly, many individuals live with these symptoms for a long time before finding effective treatment. Due to the intolerable nature of these symptoms, it is not uncommon for people with sensorimotor obsessions and compulsions to feel frustrated and hopeless to the extent that they contemplate suicide as the only possible way of freeing themselves from their symptoms. Fortunately, effective treatment for this type of OCD is available. As I’ll discuss next time, therapy will be most effective if it’s based on the principles of exposure and response prevention (ERP), an evidence-based treatment for OCD.


Continue reading Part 3.


Questions? Comments? Experience with any of the core fears above? Share below.

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  1. Thank you for enlightening me on this specific type of OCD. As devastating as this disorder can be, it always seems to boil down to the same thing. All forms of OCD, no matter how severe, are treatable, and Exposure Response Prevention therapy is the treatment of choice.

    • Janet,

      Thanks for reading! You’re completely right about ERP being the best strategy for treating all types of OCD. Hopefully, this will become common knowledge. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet… Here’s to getting the word out!

      • Thanks for the reply! After floundering our way through a disorienting maze of treatments and programs desperately trying to find the right help for our son who was suffering from OCD so severe he couldn’t even eat, I have become an advocate for OCD awareness. Dan is now a senior in college, medication free, and living life to the fullest – all because of ERP therapy and his strong desire to reclaim his life. I talk about his story on my blog and also write regularly for, OCD Chicago, and several other sites. So yes, here’s to getting the word out that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable!

        • What a great story! Thank you for sharing. In too many cases, parents are left feeling lost, frustrated, and confused by a system that doesn’t readily provide them with quality information. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to blog about some of these topics. A lot of the more idiosyncratic cases of OCD don’t make it into the popular self-help books, but everyone nowadays googles for information. I know I do. 🙂 BTW, I looked at some of your posts. Good stuff! Keep up the good work.

          • Thank you for the encouragement and thank you also for all you are doing to help OCD sufferers and their families..I will continue to read your posts!

  2. Great article. I believe I have been struggling with body sensations for over 7 years. Every sensation felt in my mouth and tongue gives me great distress. Had been trying to practice ERP, but not sure what “rituals” or “responses” i should be preventing while I experience my distressing sensations.

    • Hi Steve. Thanks for your comment. Here’s hoping that the next installment will provide some answers for you. The way I think about OCD symptoms is like this: obsessions increase anxiety, whereas rituals decrease anxiety (if only temporarily). To identify your rituals, you should try to figure out what you typically do to reduce the anxiety you feel when you notice the sensations in your mouth/tongue. For most people with body-focused OCD, the ritual involves various ways of trying NOT to think about the symptom. Some people use distraction and other mental tricks to cope with their symptoms. Other people adopt avoidant behaviors (avoiding certain foods, tastes, textures). These ways of avoiding the anxiety prevent you from habituating to (i.e., getting used to) your fear, and ultimately, the fear cycle continues. ERP is based on purposefully triggering/activating your fear and then “riding it out” until it decreases. If you get enough practice with this process, eventually you’ll break the cycle.

      For you (and anyone else in your situation), it’s really critical to make sure you’ve explored all other potential causes for your symptoms. Depending on the situation, this might involve consultations with your regular doctor, a psychologist, a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, a psychiatrist, etc because a lot of the symptoms I’ve been describing can also pop up in other non-OCD conditions. ERP will only be successful If your symptoms are caused by OCD (rather than some other underlying condition).

      Wishing you the best with this.

      • Thanks for the great reply. In regards to exploring the potential causes, I have had consultations with many specialists (regular doctor, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, ENT, and oral medicine specialist). Collectively, they have found no medical explanation for why I am so aware of my mouth and tongue.

        I have a very tough time trying to figure out whether to distract myself or not when I feel a distressing sensation. On one hand, I have read that attentional focus on sensations/symptoms only make the problem worse (amplifies the sensation). On the other hand, I have also read views such as yours that distraction is just a ritual to be avoided. In my case, if I intentionally focus on the symptom, I’ll often spend hours ruminating and I’ll usually feel worse afterwards.

        • Upon further reflection, I think I’ve concluded that in my case, my ritual involves any form of reassurance-seeking. This can take shape in the form of 1) checking my mouth/tongue to see if it ‘feels right’, 2) doing research online/’googling’ to see if my symptoms are ‘normal’, 3) rumination over sensations until things feel right in my head.

          Based on the advice in your reply, I believe my best approach would be to force myself to carry on without the reassurance, and to face the day with the associated anxiety and uncertainty until I get used to it. I need to be okay saying, “My mouth/tongue may feel right or it may feel wrong”.

          • Nice insight! Reassurance-seeking, in its many forms, is a common ritual. It can involve getting feedback from others, internet research, checking behaviors, excessive diagnostic procedures, etc. As difficult as it is to resist these behaviors, it is critical when fighting OCD.

            As with any ritual, reassurance-seeking is reinforcing. It provides relief (if only temporarily), so it often feels unnatural and uncomfortable to resist it. Nevertheless, once you’ve removed this reinforcer, the effects will propagate backwards and your anxiety will ultimately decrease. I especially like your statement: “My mouth/tongue may feel right or it may feel wrong”. It directly embraces the uncertainty and doesn’t try to force any artificial closure on the situation.

            You’ve also adopted a more pragmatic goal. You’ve shifted your focus from eliminating the sensations to feeling less anxious when you notice them. You exchanged an impossible goal (at least at this point in time) for one that’s more appropriate to where you are in the process of recovery.

  3. Thanks so much for this article, I’m very much looking forward to next post about treatment strategies.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Part 3 will be coming next week.

    • Sorry for the delay, Melissa. It’s up now.

      • Hi Steven I believe I have OCD and I have treated myself with ERP books. I’m okay majority of the time. But the one obsession that gives me the most trouble is the obsession of bitting my own tongue. And the uncomfortable feeling of being constantly aware of the placement of my tongue. Any tips on how to use ERP on this specific obsession?

        • Just like other forms of sensorimotor OCD, it’s important to improve your ability to be nonjudgmentally aware of your tongue. Meditations and exposures similar to those described for other types of SMOCD would be readily applicable.

  4. I’m wondering what day this week Part 3 will be up? I keep checking back and am very anxious to read it! Thank you!!

    • Hi Emily,

      Sorry for the delay. The post is available now. Hope it helps! Thanks for reading.

  5. This article is the best gift that I have ever received. The right addressng of my disease that I have seeked for 13 years.
    Thanks a lot and I am looking forward to next episodes of your Article.
    Bst Wishes.

    • Hi Mehdi,

      Thanks for reading! Hope the strategies help. Feel free to share your story, if you’d like. All the best!

  6. This article is a blessing. I’m comforted reading it, and knowing I’m not the only one struggling.

    I had a sneezing obsession, where if I was about to sneeze I would focus on it and it stopped, then it moved to having a yawning obsession, where I would consciously cut it off so I couldn’t do it. The yawning one is far more distressing. I end up feeling exhausted, highly anxious and distressed. I take Citalopram for it, it helped for a while, but it’s back again. I have much empathy for those going through this. It’s hell. Have not heard of ERP. Sounds good. I will keep checking back.

    Thank you.

    • Hope the next part helps! I posted it today. That sounds like an extremely frustrating form of OCD. How does it work? Is is that you yawn excessively or that you inadvertently suppress the yawn when you pay attention to it? It might be helpful to break it down into the obsessive and compulsive elements.

      • Hi, Steven, I inadvertantly supress the yawn, because my attention is focused on it. I’m having some success with the technique of mindfulness. My reasoning is that certain meditation techniques encourage one to focus on, say, their breathing, or the tip of their nose, or abdominal breathing, or some part of one’s body in order to relax. I basically trick my mind into going along with focusing on the yawning as a meditative experience, and something not to be feared, but as a mindfulness experience. It soon loosens its power over me, and enables me to forget about it, relegating it into the realm of subconsciousness. It’s a case of, “Oh well, if I yawn I yawn, if I don’t, I don’t, it won’t kill me, it’s beneficial since it’s a meditative thing.” It really does keep the distress at bay, which only makes it worse. I hope people can make use of this technique. Please don’t worry! Thanks, Steven. David

        • Thanks for sharing, David. I know a lot of providers who are starting to integrate mindfulness techniques in their therapy. I think mindfulness can be a nice companion strategy for ERP. It sounds like you’re identifying your fear as a false alarm and then using mindfulness as a way to augment ERP. Kudos!

          One unfortunate thing I see sometimes is that some people begin practicing mindfulness without really understanding it (i.e., what it is and what it isn’t), and they end up using it as an escape/avoidance strategy. Mindfulness is not helpful for OCD when used (or misused!) in this way.

    • Dear David,

      Did you finally solved this problem? Would like to hear your update!
      Thanks so much…

  7. omg thank you.
    I had no idea this was a actual thing!
    I thought maybe i had OCD so was researching and came across this article.
    Im 23 now and ever since i was about 16 or 17 ive been OBSESSED with my blinking, breathing and swallowing. everyday. i cant stop thinking about it. I feel like if i dont swallow “properly” i will choke or swallow my tongue. it keeps me from going to sleep at night coz i have to control it.
    Also my blinking ive been controlling for the same amount of time. i find it literally impossible to hold eye contact coz i think im blinking wrong and the other person is judging me.
    the other one is breathing. i have to control breathing. its like i will stop breahting if i dont breathe a certain way.
    this is driving me CRAZY. how do you treat this???

    • I’m so glad this helped you put a name on something you’ve been experiencing. My newest post discusses some treatment strategies–I hope that you find them useful. The strategies are part of Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP), an evidence-based treatment for OCD. Make sure that if you attempt ERP, you are doing so in a way that addresses your specific fears. Regarding the eye contact issue, you might consider just going for your fear. If you’re afraid of being judged for blinking too much, you might “experiment” with blinking excessively on purpose. If someone mentions it, then deal with the awkwardness that ensues. That uncomfortable feeling will pass if you don’t avoid it.

    • Hi, Linda, I have had the blinking and swallowing obsession also. I had many obsessive fixations on swallowing my tongue. Please, if you’re not already on medication, think about going on them if the distress is unbearable. I am on citalopram, but some other anti-anxiety agent might be a real distress and anxiety inhibitor. It definitely takes the edge off the intrusive thoughts. Read my comment above, and try the technique. It may take some getting used to, but you will succeed if you keep at it. Don’t let your mind trick you into believing it will continue. Go along with it as best you can. If the thought arises, just say, “you won’t trick me, I am going to go along with it, I won’t judge or question, but just treat it as a meditative technique”. The distress and anxiety will subside with practice and fade into the background. Please don’t be anxious! I wish you all the best. Regards, David.

  8. Hi …. I have bits and pieces of various forms of OCDs …. From mental rituals, counting, checking, sexual thoughts, religious thoughts and harmful thoughts …. I am not into hand washing though …. I also have voluntary body tics where i move my shoulders or neck a certain way to feel better or just right …. For the first time back in 1993 or 1994 while watching tv i had the eye contact obsession but didn’t know what it was back then …. It disappeared after a few days ….. then in 2001 got it again for a little while ….. I have however not been affected by blinking and swallowing …. but in 2008 i got the breathing obsession for a while ….. but i have been affected mostly in 2010 (last year) and this year with this obsession …. It is very annoying and irritates me ….. However it’s good to know i am not the only one …. when i first had them i thought i was crazy or the only person having these weird sensations ….

    • Hi Namgyel,

      Thanks for sharing. It sounds like your OCD is pretty devious and good at developing new forms to try to trick you. You’re definitely not alone, as you can see from the other comments people have posted. Sadly, sensorimotor OCD isn’t widely discussed, and as such, it isn’t often identified. If you have any tips or strategies that you’ve used to combat your symptoms, please feel free to share them. Keep up the fight!

      • Wish more studies were done for Sensorimotor OCD …. When i first started analyzing my mental behaviour i thought it was migraine related as i was diagnosed with migraine a few years back …. but since i was not satisfied with that i became more specific and started researching on breathing obsession, awareness etc and came up to this …. At least i know what’s happening to me …. now i need to find a solution towards it …. at the moment i am just accepting it as it is and trying not to become anxious about these thoughts ….

        • I agree. There’s certainly a need for more good research on this condition. Even prevalence/incidence are difficult to determine because most people don’t end up with an OCD diagnosis. Furthermore, many people don’t report these types of symptoms to their families, friends, and doctors because they worry that other people will think they’re “crazy” for worrying about such a thing.

          Did you read the last part of this series? It focuses on treatment strategies. Hopefully, there are some parts that will be relevant to you and your symptoms. I also encourage you to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of panic disorder, because that’s another anxiety disorder that can easily be confused with SMOCD.

          • Hi Steven,
            So is it possible that my breathing awareness is not OCD related but panic related ? Could you please clarify between the two ? I don’t think i have any panic related disorders …. Or could it be that OCD and Panic related disorders are one and the same or they could be interconnected ? I have read posts in forums where posters have talked about their breathing awareness being related to panic attacks while some others suggest they are OCD related ….

          • Based on your description, it sounds more OCD-related to me. However, that’s why I would recommend consulting with an anxiety specialist to make sure that the diagnosis is appropriate. FYI, many people with OCD also have panic attacks, so that can add an additional layer of complexity to the situation.

            Regarding panic, individuals with panic disorder often exhibit “anxiety sensitivity” which is associated with over-attention to the physical cues of anxiety. Individuals with high anxiety sensitivity have a lower threshold for noticing anxiety-related changes in their bodies. They frequently “scan” their bodies for these changes (sometimes referred to as hypervigilance), and they are more likely to misinterpret normal bodily sensations as dangerous (e.g., My pounding heart means I’m probably having a heart attack.). I’ve talked about some of these ideas in some of my earlier blog posts on panic.

            I wouldn’t consider panic and OCD to be the same–they have distinct profiles and different diagnostic criteria. However, they share some features, particularly in the context of body-focused OCD.

            In the end, the diagnostic label (i.e., panic vs. OCD) is less important than making sure that you’re following the right treatment protocol. In the case of panic and body-focused OCD, the treatment protocols will be virtually identical.

  9. Is this thread dead yet ?

  10. It is such a comfort to finally find a name for this most distressing condition. I have been suffering with this for over 10 years starting with swallowing then breathing and blinking soon after. Other little obsessions have popped up between these times such as having to clench the muscles in my head, imagining things that would put my teeth on edge…endless lists. However, the one common denominator is that all of these things have taken control of my life and there is not one aspect of my life that it does’nt affect. I am deep into a blinking obsession at the minute where it is all consuming and I am totally focussed on what is going on with my eyes. Only a person who has experienced these obsessions can appreciate the utter devastation they cause. I look forward to taking the time to read these articles and hope they can bring me some relief.

    • Thanks for visiting, Rachel. You’re right. These symptoms can feel devastating, as they tend to permeate and color much of everyday experience. Hope the articles give you some insight and provide you with some strategies for tackling your symptoms.

      All the Best,
      Dr. Seay

  11. This article is great. Actually, the first one I ever c ross that point on target with a label name my sympthoms. Identifying what you havve is the first step on the process.Thanks.

  12. thank you so much for this Dr. Steve! i contacted you on facebook as well but i just want to say my obsessions are with the breathing and blinking, and that i cant stop thinking about it and doing it. its really good to finally be able to put a name to what im experiencing and to read about it. like the others have said its a great feeling to know that im not the only one, so thank you. im seeing a psychologist but i get the feeling shes not very good as we pretty much just talk, and we havent tried ERP or anything. also im on three lovan’s, could you reccomend anything that may be more effective as it doesnt seem to be helping that much? anyway thank you so much, I hope you know you’ve made a lot of people very happy and you’ve given them hope, so god bless you Dr. Steve.

    • Hi Anthony,

      It’s impossible to predict in advance what medication(s) will work best, but the SRRIs are certainly first line treatments. You should know that for OCD, these medications typically require 3 months to work. Moreover, the SRRIs are typically given at higher doses for OCD than for other conditions like depression. I also replied to your Facebook commment. I’m including it below as well, as I think your question about tics might be relevant to others who might see this post.

      RE: your question about tics…you might consider meeting with a neurologist to check it out. Tics can involve many different behaviors, including blinking, throat clearing, sniffing, coughing, muscle movements/tensing. It sounds like you’re experiencing many of these symptoms currently. However, your overall symptom profile still sounds quite OCD-like (anxiety, symmetry issues, “just right” feelings). Unfortunately, the distinguishing between complex tics and compulsions is not always easy.

      FYI, many people have both tics and OCD. There’s also something called “Tourettic OCD” which is a somewhat controversial condition. However, it does describe certain symptom profiles quite well, and the treatment implications for Tourettic OCD are different than for tics or OCD alone. Here’s a good review on TOCD:

      When it doubt, have it assessed. 🙂 If it’s more neurological (tic-like), there are other medication options that your neurologist might recommend.

  13. Please help been obbssed with breathing for 1 month now its hurting mu chest and stomach I cry everyday I went from nose breathing all my life to now I can’t breathe thru my nose without it hurting and contracting my bladder and I don’t feel like I’m breathing right pls help

    • Hi Amanda,

      Visit and find a treatment provider to help you fight this. You could also talk to you doctor about medications that might be helpful.

      Good luck!

  14. This blinking eye focus thing is driving me mad. I don’t know how to stop thinking about it. I can understand how erp can work but how do you expose yourself to something that your constantly focused on. Surely your just increasing the focus? My fear is the classic that now I have noticed it I will never be able to forget it. Please give me some advice on exposure for blinking. Is it just a case of learning to live with it?

  15. i have swallowing ocd. it just pops into my mind at random times and it forces me to think about swallowing then i swallow. is the sensrimotor ocd and is it treatable?

    • Sensorimotor OCD is certainly treatable, but it’s important that you rule out medical causes and get properly diagnosed before assuming it’s SMOCD.

      • i was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder in 2011 then i went online and read about someone conscious of their swallowing and it stuck with me. i was on celexa for 5 months for my GAD and got off of it in feb 2012 then about three weeks after i got off of it my conscious swallowing disappeared. that is until feb 15 2013 after i had a few beers and smoked a cigar (something that i never do) and then i swallowed and it came back.

      • Hello Steven,

        In the midst of suffering through what was very likely GAD, I came across an article about sensorimotor OCD, similar to Jason. It has stuck with me ever since (it has been several months now), possibly because the condition and its repercussions are so threatening. This had never before crossed by mind organically and I do not have a history of OCD. I did not have a particular fixation or a need to blink/swallow/breathe any specific number of times or until it felt right. I’ve started to convince myself I am noticing my swallowing more than usual. My specific feared outcome is developing sensorimotor OCD, and not being able to concentrate on what I want to concentrate on. It’s as though fear of the condition brought it about. Any insight you would have on how to tackle my fears would be very greatly appreciated.

  16. Hi Steven

    I have a question – I have a lot of problems – OCD /mostly sensorimotor and pure-o, also a lot of perfectionism/, general anxiety, panic attacks, depression and social anxiety. I don’t know which of these is the most dominant one and have no idea where to start. When a person has a lot of ailments, which should be treated first? I feel hopeless and helpless, like I’ll never be able to cope with life. I’m 27 and have been having problems for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I can cope with therapy as I have problems leaving the house and very low mental and physical energy. I’m not living, I’m just enduring life.

  17. Ihad apanic attack two months ago and then i suffered from shortness of breath and need to take deep breath all time but then i discovered it this urge is not true as i went to many doctors and told me u r ok and then i started trying not to take adeep breath and breath normally and this urge stopped then suddenly one day i focused on my saliva that is too much and need to swallow each minute then i realized that is not real ant forced myself to stop thinking about my saliva and became good now i started thinking about swallowin and how often i swallow and itry not to think about but i cant i need to know what is this and how can i stop thinking of swallowing and how many times swallow please help me anyone

  18. I’ve suffered from what I used to always think is excessive saliva for 2years now, the conscious act of swallowing has affected my confidence, speech and work/home life.

    I am hopeful that this will end, a ‘living nightmare’ does not begin to articulate these experiences. I have a city job with many responsibilities and I always worry that this is having a massive impact and thoughts of this kind only worsens the constant swallowing.

    If there is any advise out there, please share.

    For everyone else with similar conditions, please please remain positive and I’m sure this will end and don’t be too hard on yourself

    God Bless

  19. Hi,

    I kind of have believe to be suffering from OCD, so after reading this article and finding about this specific type of disorder, I began to focus on the saliva. I am scared not to develop it any further, is there any technique I could use to prevent any further development? 🙁

  20. Hi I adapted this problem only last year and it’s been on and off I am only 15 years old and never experienced any type of ocd before. We’ll the first day of high school last year made me nervous and I kept swallowing I then took notice and couldn’t stop, I read all over the internet about it and became interested I heard about blinking and breathing and began thinking what if I got tht and first it became blinking but tht only lasted a few days and then I stopped thinking of it for the longest time. But one day this summer I thought of it again and became aware of my breathing and it caused me to have a panic attack. I was always normal but when this happens to me I completely shut down.

  21. I just started thinking about my breating a few weeks ago. I googled it and simply read about blinking ocd. Now, I have that too. I can’t rest without thinking about either and now I wish I never read about the blinking ocd as I’m learning to control my breathing in a meditative way but struggle with blinking. Please tell me this is just a phase and will pass. By the way, I use to have trouble holding eye contact, as someone above wrote, but don’t anymore.

  22. Hi all. I have had he breathing obsession on /off for 8 years. The secret is to relabel it as THOUGHT about the exercise of aspiration or breathing and then accept it. This is not easy but then you need to distract and think in to things: Play cards, do a crossword, really concentrate on a conversation and you will notice your focus on your breathings shifts.
    I also found 40mg of citalopram was a crucial also.
    Good luck and keep up the good work Mr Seahy

  23. Hi Dr. Steven,

    I was wondering if you knew of any books that address Sensimoritor obsessions. I have found that a lot of OCD books don’t mention it.

    Thank you!

  24. hi my name is itallo i have a big problem iam focusing in my blinking eyes this drive to hell this happenened five years ago then it came back now iam in about 3 months now with fear and depressions (plz help) i cry evry dave iam 31 years old

  25. So,If my problem is only related to the awareness of breathing, without any doubt or compulsion,is not ocd?

  26. Very informative article. I have been diagnosed with OCD and find myself cutting off everything that involves opening my mouth like talking and yawning because I fear I will say something awful or accidently say an intrusive thought. This is very distressing and exhausting. I have received much relief while reading this article. Thank You!

  27. I don’t know if u are still checking this page but I hope so.
    My life is very stressful the last year because i have bad anxiety and probably bodysensetive OCD.
    I will try to describe my symptoms as good as possible.
    First of all I am not focusing on body processes like breathing or swallowing,
    I rather focus on how certain parts of my body feel and the awereness gives me huge anxiety and panic around people because I fear that they recognize my struggle and judge me.
    When I’m alone it’s slightly stressing but I manage to get the thoughts away better(not good at all but it doesn’t give me that type of social anxiety).
    Mainly my focus is on how my legs feel no matter if I’m standing or sitting, and the awereness makes them feil very weird and uncomfortable.
    Every time I am around people my focus immediately gets to my legs and if this isn’t OCD, I don’t know what it could be because I don’t want this thoughts and I know Its not a physical problem.
    It’s really starting to drive me crazy and I don’t know any further.
    As compulsions I change the way I stand or sit, but it doesn’t help and just gets me deeper into the thought process and anxiety feeling.
    I tried exposure often but when the feeling of anxiety comes it just feels so real I can’t resist changing my position.
    So my question is after what I told you, do you think I have body sensitive OCD and do you have any specific advice for my situation.
    Edit: my gp diagnosed me with agoraphobia and panic attacks for my symptoms but I just believe there is more.
    I have no fear of dying, falling to the ground or anything.
    I’m just getting anxious by the sensation awareness and the social reaction it could have.
    It’s a mind thing like I’m trapped in my own mind…
    Thank you for reading

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