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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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OCD Treatment: Back to Basics

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In previous posts, I have discussed various aspects of the “OCD Cycle,” but it never hurts to have a quick refresher. After all, understanding how OCD works can help you see through its lies and help mobilize you to stand up and challenge it. What is OCD, and how does OCD treatment work? OCD has two mains parts: obsessions and compulsions. We’ll talk about the obsessions first. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that intrude into your awareness, and cause significant anxiety or distress. Thoughts include such examples as, “What if I get sick?”, “What if I secretly want to harm my loved ones?“, “What if I just got sexually aroused by that child?“, and “What if I forgot to lock my front door and someone breaks in?“. Impulses are experienced as urges to commit actions that you...

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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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Driving Fears & Driving Avoidance in Teens & Young Drivers

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Reader Question: My daughter just turned 15, and no matter what I say, I can’t seem to convince her to practice her driving. It’s strange, because in the past, all she could do is talk about how excited she was to finally get her permit. I truly thought that she’d be practicing constantly once she was legally able to. Have you seen this before? Could her driving avoidance possibly be related to her OCD? Sincerely, Stressed-Out Parent Answer: Maybe, maybe not. Driving Fears May Be Normal… Driving-related anxiety is a completely normal phenomenon. For many people, learning to drive is the first time that they are individually responsible for handling a situation that could potentially be life-threatening. Although car accidents are (hopefully) rare for most individuals, accidents can be harmful (or deadly) when they do occur. Being in charge...

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