Sensorimotor Obsessions: Signs, Causes and Treatment

Sensorimotor Obsessions: Signs, Causes and Treatment

One of the more common obsessions people have is sensorimotor. It’s a way of describing an obsession with body sensations, movements, and thoughts. People with sensorimotor obsessions may be preoccupied with their skin, hair, or nails; they may obsessively check their appearance in a mirror or window; or they may be constantly thinking about how to move their bodies most effectively.

What are Sensorimotor Obsessions?

What are Sensorimotor Obsessions?

Sensorimotor Obsessions (SMOs) are a type of OCD that refers to recurrent, intrusive thoughts and images about the body or its movements. People with SMOs almost always have at least one specific obsession, which is usually related to performing a certain action or movement. Many people with SMOs also experience additional obsessions and compulsions not connected to their primary focus.

There is currently no single diagnostic test for SMO, but it is typically diagnosed after a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. Treatment typically involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which aims to help people identify and change their negative thoughts and behaviors related to their obsessions. CBT can be very effective in treating SMO, but it is often necessary for people to continue working with a therapist after they complete treatment.

What are the Symptoms of Sensorimotor Obsessions?

Sensorimotor obsessions are a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that involve repetitive thoughts, images, or actions related to one’s body. People with sensorimotor obsessions may feel compelled to inspect their skin and bodily areas in a way that is potentially harmful or embarrassing. They may also experience intrusive thoughts about the movements of their hands and feet, or about how their own body looks from different angles.

The most common symptoms of sensorimotor obsessions include:

Persistent Concerns

One of the most common signs of sensorimotor obsessions is that people feel compelled to worry about their thoughts and actions. They may feel like they have to check if their thoughts are normal or if they are doing anything wrong. This can be a constant struggle, as the obsessions can be extremely intrusive and difficult to ignore.

Repetitive Behaviours

People with sensorimotor obsessions may feel compelled to perform certain repetitious motions, including hand-washing, counting, or checking. The goal may be to decrease the frequency of the obsession, but often these behaviors become rituals in and of themselves.

Distressing Thoughts

People with sensorimotor obsessions may experience disturbing thoughts about their bodies or activities. These might involve fears about harming oneself or others, or embarrassing thoughts about how their body looks from different angles.

Sense of Urgency or Fearfulness

Many people with sensorimotor obsessions feel like they need to act on the obsessions immediately, even if this means risking harm. They may also feel a sense of dread or fear when they think about the obsessions, which can make them very uncomfortable. Also, the obsessions may be associated with physical sensations such as anxiety or a pounding heart.

Constant Struggle

People with sensorimotor obsessions often feel like they are fighting an uphill battle. The thoughts and behaviors associated with the obsessions are often very intrusive and can be hard to ignore. This can lead to feelings of stress, frustration, and anguish. These also often interfere with day-to-day life, causing difficulty in functioning.

What Causes Sensorimotor Obsessions?

What Causes Sensorimotor Obsessions?

Some people with sensorimotor obsessions also have a fear of losing control over their bodies. This can be due to an event from their past or something they’ve seen on television or in movies. They may worry about accidentally injuring themselves or even killing someone else.

Other causes of sensorimotor obsessions include:

Brain Injuries

One of the most common types of brain injury is a traumatic brain injury or TBI. This type of injury can cause a person to experience confusion, memory loss, and other problems with cognitive function. It can also lead to anxiety, panic attacks, and other symptoms related to the brain’s fear system.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can be caused by a traumatic event, such as a military battle or rape. PTSD can cause intense fear and anxiety that lasts for months or even years after the event. People with PTSD may have sensorimotor obsessions related to their trauma. For example, they may be afraid of being in any situation where they might see or hear something that reminds them of the event. They may also have intrusive thoughts about the event, such as images or sounds that keep recurring in their mind.

Constant Trauma

People who experience constant trauma, such as abuse or domestic violence, are more likely to have sensorimotor obsessions. This type of trauma can cause a person to feel constantly in danger, which can lead to fear and anxiety. People with sensorimotor obsessions may be afraid of being in any situation where they might encounter the source of their constant trauma. They may also have intrusive thoughts about the event and be unable to stop thinking about it.


Depression can cause several symptoms, one of which is sensorimotor obsessions. People with sensorimotor obsessions may be afraid of movement or anything that involves their hands or fingers. They may also have intrusive thoughts about the event or be unable to stop thinking about it.

How Do Sensorimotor Obsessions Impacts Someone?

How Do Sensorimotor Obsessions Impacts Someone?

Sensorimotor obsessions are characterized by repetitive, obsessive thoughts or behaviors about the body’s physical movements and sensations.

The impacts of sensorimotor obsessions vary depending on the individual, but can often be extremely disruptive and debilitating.

  • People with sensorimotor obsessions may find it difficult to engage in normal activities, such as working or completing tasks, because their thoughts constantly turn to their body’s movements and sensations. They may also become withdrawn and isolate themselves from friends and family members.
  • Some other impacts can be more specific to people with sensorimotor obsessions, such as experiencing a marked increase in anxiety or panic attacks when they are around physical objects or situations that trigger their thoughts or behaviors related to their bodily sensations.
  • In some cases, people with sensorimotor obsessions may develop a compulsive interest in their body’s movements or sensations. It can be very difficult to break free from.

How to Treat Sensorimotor Obsessions?

How to Treat Sensorimotor Obsessions?

People with sensorimotor obsessions have intrusive, unwanted thoughts or images that typically focus on their hands, feet, or other body parts. The obsessions can be extremely distressing and lead to distress in both work and personal life.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating sensorimotor obsessions, as each person’s situation is unique. However, some common methods of treatment include:


One of the most common treatments for sensorimotor obsessions is medication. Medications can help to decrease the intensity and frequency of the obsessions, as well as improve general mood and functioning.


Therapy can be very helpful in treating sensorimotor obsessions. Therapists may help individuals learn how to manage and cope with their thoughts and images, as well as develop strategies for reducing distress.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can also be a helpful treatment for sensorimotor obsessions. Also, Group sessions can offer support and guidance from others who have experienced similar symptoms. This can help individuals to feel more connected and understood, which can help reduce distress.

Support Groups

One of the best ways to find community and support is through support groups. Groups of people who share similar experiences can provide a safe and supportive environment. This can be a valuable way to help individuals learn how to manage their obsessions and distress.

Tips For Dealing With Sensorimotor Obsessions

Dealing with a  sensorimotor obsession can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to help ease the symptoms.

1. Talk to a therapist or counselor. This can be an invaluable resource as it can help you explore the root of your obsessions and provide coping strategies.

2. Exercise regularly. A healthy body and mind are essential for managing sensorimotor obsessions. exercising releases endorphins, which have calming effects, and help to focus your thoughts.

3. Find other ways to relax. Some people find relief from sensorimotor obsessions by taking a brisk walk, reading a book, or listening to music. Finding what works best for you is key to managing this condition successfully.

4. Assign specific tasks to each hand. This can help you focus on other activities while your brain is occupied with less intrusive thoughts.

5. Challenge your obsessions. Whenever you feel like your obsessions are getting the best of you, take some time to challenge them by thinking about something else. This can help defuse the situation and provide some relief from obsessive thoughts.

Remember, though it may be difficult at first, managing sensorimotor obsessions is possible with the help of a therapist or counselor.


Sensorimotor obsessions can be difficult to understand, but once you do, they can provide a wealth of insight into your mental health and behavior. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the most common sensorimotor obsessions and provided an overview of what they involve. We hope that this information has helped you gain a better understanding of these strange but fascinating thoughts and behaviors and that you will continue to seek out help if you find yourself struggling with them.

For more information and guidance, please contact OCDMantra. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding OCD treatmentERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OD therapy session.