Real Events OCD

What is Real Events OCD?

Real Events OCD is an anxiety disorder, characterized by repetitive and unwanted obsessional ideas about real-life events. These thoughts often cause great distress and interfere with the person’s everyday life. People with Real Events OCD commonly have thoughts related to death or illness of a loved one, being responsible for a serious accident, or worrying that they may accidentally harm someone.

These worries often seem very realistic and may cause the person to feel panicked that they are going crazy or losing control. The obsessions often take up so much mental energy for the person with Real Events OCD that he or she has trouble focusing on everyday tasks, and sometimes becomes totally preoccupied by them to the point where these thoughts interfere with work and relationships.

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Symptoms of Real Events OCD

  • Obsessions about potential threats or disasters, such as contaminated food, germs, fires, or being exposed to toxins in the environment. These obsessions often come with compulsions to check and clean things excessively to prevent harm from occurring.

  • Strong urges to act out disturbing or violent thoughts that may have no relation whatsoever to the reality of the situation. These thoughts may be about harming yourself or someone else, and can cause guilt and anxiety if you are unable to act on them.

  • Repeatedly checking your surroundings or performing rituals in order to prevent harm from occurring, even when there is no real threat present. This may involve repeated hand-washing, locking and unlocking doors, checking that appliances are turned off, or repeatedly going over safety procedures in your mind.

  • Intrusive thoughts about death or violence towards yourself or others that cause you great emotional distress and anxiety. These types of thoughts can make it difficult to go about your daily life, as you may feel like you need to avoid certain situations or environments in order to prevent acting on these thoughts.

Obsessions of Real Events OCD

  • Checking repeatedly to make sure that things are safe or secure.

  • Repeatedly arranging objects in a certain way or order.

  • Repeatedly checking to see if things really happened, such as when an event was witnessed or heard about it.

  • Repeating tasks over and over again to make sure that they are done correctly.

  • Obsessing about the idea that there is something wrong or dangerous, even when there is no evidence to support these fears.

  • Constantly worrying about making mistakes or causing harm, even when there is no reason for these worries.

  • Having intrusive thoughts about performing unacceptable, harmful, or violent acts.

  • Frequently doubting your memory or the accuracy of your perceptions.

  • Constantly seeking reassurance from others that things are safe and that you haven’t made a mistake.

Compulsions of Real Events OCD

  • Repeating rituals or behaviors: Many people with OCD experience intrusive thoughts and feelings that lead them to repeat certain behaviors over and over again, in an effort to neutralize or “undo” the thought or feeling. These compulsions can take many different forms, such as washing your hands repeatedly, checking the stove multiple times before leaving the house, or arranging and rearranging objects in a certain order.

  • Avoiding situations that trigger negative feelings or thoughts: People with Real Event OCD may avoid certain places or activities out of fear that they will trigger an unwanted thought or experience. For example, if you have a strong fear of contamination, you may avoid public transportation or touching other people, even if you recognize that this is irrational.

  • Seeking constant reassurance: People with Real Event OCD may constantly seek reassurance from others, such as family members or friends, by asking them to confirm that their experiences and thoughts are normal or rational. This can be a difficult habit to break, as the sufferer often feels like they need to hear that their experiences are “real” in order to feel at ease.

  • Constantly worrying about worst-case scenarios: People with Real Event OCD often find themselves fixating on the worst possible outcomes of a given situation. For example, you may constantly worry that your partner is going to leave you or that something terrible is going to happen to your child. While it’s normal to have some anxieties in these situations, people with Real Event OCD tend to go to extremes and dwell excessively on worst-case scenarios.