Obsessions regarding doubt in obsessive-compulsive disorder

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Obsessions regarding doubt in obsessive-compulsive disorder
Obsessions regarding doubt in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Many individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder are afraid of not being careful enough, and, as a result, accidentally harming someone. Such individuals oftentimes even feel personally responsible for events that are outside of their control and have absolutely nothing to do with them. The primary compulsion in this form of obsessive-compulsive disorder is repetitive checking. For example, the individual will repeatedly check to ensure that they have turned the stove off, for fear of burning down the house and harming or killing someone inside. It is because of symptoms like these that OCD is frequently known as “the disease of doubt.”

Such individuals have intrusive thoughts about individuals being harmed by their supposed negligence or carelessness. Many individuals with OCD will be afraid of accidentally running over a pedestrian, and they will be excessively careful not to do so, even to the point of behaving irrationally or being afraid to drive altogether. Sometimes they will repeatedly check the scene of an area in which they are afraid they may have caused an accident. They may resist this urge a great deal, but the sense of doubt and anxiety may become so intolerable that they will leave off performing important tasks to go check the area. Many of those with this form of OCD frequently fear having left a door unlocked or a window open.

This individual frequently lives in a state of continual dread or doubt. This can be quite distressing to the individual, as they may come to seriously doubt the reliability of their own memories. Interestingly enough, experiments have confirmed that such individuals do indeed tend to perform more poorly on tasks involving certain forms of memory. However, it is unclear whether this is the result of an actual cognitive deficit, or if it is merely the result of high amounts of anxiety interfering with their memory.

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Crystal Perry
Crystal Perry, MS, LMHC, LPC has been working in the clinical field for over a decade. She has helped to empower individuals to think critically and creatively to solve problems and help improve their lives. Perry has applied these clinical skills in multiple agencies with every population from infants to older adults. She has used these experience to be a state office expert mental health treatment. Her training in clinical practice and art therapy has afforded her the opportunity to understand all aspects of mental health and wellness.

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