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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Guilt

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition characterized by intrusive and obsessive thoughts and compulsions such as repeated hand washing, checking, or any behavior that is repeated over and over. One thing that plagues people with OCD is guilt. They may feel responsible for their disorder and the impact it has on themselves and others. It can be extremely draining to live with OCD and worry about how your actions impact your loved ones and those around you. Here’s why obsessive-compulsive disorder can be disruptive to a person’s life and how it affects others around them.

OCD behaviors – what are they?

When you think of OCD, you may envision people washing their hands until their skin is raw or being afraid of contracting illnesses. You imagine germaphobia or someone who is extremely organized. Remember that OCD looks different in each individual. A person with OCD can have intrusive thoughts where they keep thinking the same thing, and that overpowers their ability to function. Here are some common OCD symptoms and behaviors.

Rumination – people with OCD obsess or ruminate on the same thought over and over again. The ideas can be disturbing. People call these “intrusive thoughts.” They could be about harming others or yourself. Or they may be related to compulsions, and they need to do something.
Compulsions – compulsions our wants and needs to engage in a particular action. A person with OCD feels compelled to do it action over and over again, and they’re afraid if they don’t complete that action, something bad will happen.
Reassurance seeking – A person with OCD may ask for reassurance from others. Part of this is that they don’t trust themselves or their brain. The thoughts in their mind can be confusing, and so they often will check that everything is OK by asking trusted people for reassurance.

Why people with OCD feel guilt

Guilt is a familiar feeling that people with OCD experience. They worry they’ve done something wrong. Even by thinking a maladaptive or negative thought, they’re convinced they’ve done something wrong. They worry about hurting others through their ideas, which is not rational, but it does cause a lot of guilt. Imagine you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you’re struggling with these frightening thoughts and ideas. You’re already suffering, and then on top of that, you feel guilty for having the thoughts. It’s important to remember that you did not cause these thoughts to enter your mind. We don’t have control over what we think, but we do have the power to decide what we do with those ideas. That’s where therapy can be helpful to people that have obsessive-compulsive disorder. In treatment, you can talk with a trusted mental health professional about your guilt and work through those feelings. Behavioral therapy is a common form of treatment that individuals with OCD find helpful. Specifically, cognitive behavior therapy is an effective way to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Guilt is something that people with OCD experience, and shame is another issue that they have to cope with as a result of their thoughts.

Shame and OCD

Shame can be a side effect of living with OCD. You may be scared to admit that you are having intrusive thoughts because it makes you feel bad about yourself. You’re ashamed of what you’re thinking. But again, it’s crucial to remember that you didn’t cause these thoughts to happen. You can overcome the shame by remembering that you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s challenging to reassure yourself when you’re having intrusive thoughts, but your therapist can talk to you about grounding statements, affirmations, and mantras so that you can remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can at this moment. Mindfulness can help a person cope with shame. Also, remember that you didn’t create these shameful feelings. It’s not your fault that you feel this way. All you can do is do the best that you can at the moment, and a therapist is somebody you can speak to you about the guilt and shame you are feeling as a result of OCD.

Getting help for guilt with OCD

Online therapy is an excellent place to get help for living with OCD. You don’t have to feel guilty about your thoughts when you have someone to talk to about them. You can meet with an online therapist and work through these challenges. Another place you can learn about obsessive-compulsive disorder is on Mind Diagnostics. Read about the struggles that people have with obsessive-compulsive disorder so you can feel less alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help to a licensed mental health professional when you were struggling with OCD. There are ways to cope with the condition and live a fulfilling, happy life.

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