Harming and Aggressive thoughts in OCD

Typically, people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder exhibit unwanted and repetitive thoughts (also called obsessions), which are usually followed by some kind of compulsive behavior that is supposed to ease the anxiety caused by those thoughts. Despite the widely-spread belief that people with OCD would close and open the door a set number of times or perform another similar behavior, the reality is different. More often than not, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder revolves around harm — self-inflicted or harm they could do to others. Therefore, such an individual would establish compulsive behaviors that are supposed to avoid harming someone or themselves. What’s the most notable is that these fears of harming are contradictory to the values and beliefs of a person with OCD.

Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder

While every case is different, some nuances are seen in most people with OCD.

Starting with obsessive thoughts, most widely-spread are the following fears:

  • Losing control over oneself and succumbing to violent thoughts
  • Committing suicide
  • Causing harm to loved ones on purpose or accidentally
  • Using potentially dangerous objects (knives, cars, forks, etc.)
  • Forgetting about household appliances that could cause harm (a gas stove turned on, a working iron, etc.)
  • Being unable to control oneself and avoid hurting someone in certain environments (pushing a person under a train, cutting someone’s throat with a knife when cooking, etc.)
  • Causing illness to oneself or others due to failing to follow strict hygiene rules
  • Committing a violent act unconsciously and without remembering

Compulsive behaviors are supposed to prevent all these fears from manifesting themselves.

Therefore, the activities circle around obsessive checking, avoiding, and other behaviors such as:

  • Excessively looking for bodily cues that may show that they have harmed someone or themselves
  • Looking for signs from other people to make sure they weren’t hurt by themConstantly checking if appliances are off or if doors are closed
  • Avoiding potentially dangerous objects
  • Excessively researching signs of socio- or psychopathy to understand if their irrational thoughts have to do something with these conditions
  • Avoiding situations that, as a person with OCD has imagined, could make them cause harm
  • Asking people to remember all the actions this person committed towards them to see if there were any violent ones
  • Obsessively recalling and playing over and over again memories in the most precise manner to see if they harmed anyone without knowing or recallingAvoiding news fearing they will see their name

What are the causes of OCD?

Just like other mental issues and types of OCD, the fearful obsessive-compulsive disorder is caused by many factors. These include any life events, genetics, environment, and so on.

OCD focuses on what’s most important for the person who is struggling with it. As most people value family the most, their OCD will show itself through obsessive fears about harming loved ones and actions that should prevent the worst from happening. If a person values their looks the most, they will fear they or someone else will harm their appearance.

How is OCD treated?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is considered to be the most effective treatment for all forms of OCD. This therapy involves several steps that are aimed at reprogramming the way a person thinks. The psychologist would first determine all the irrational thought patterns a client is suffering from. The professional will then recondition these thoughts through explanations and very gradual exposure therapy that will expose an individual to their fears.

This therapy takes quite a lot of time and patience, but it shows brilliant results. The most difficult part of CBT for a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder is to quit those obsessive thoughts they’re struggling with. It’s extremely hard because they already became such a significant part of this individual’s personality that removing them feels like removing a part of one’s psyche. But that’s the sacrifice one needs to make. And a good therapist can make this process less painful.