Guilt And OCD: What’s the link, and how do you find help?
OCD is a common yet frequently misunderstood mental health condition. Sources indicate that OCD impacts about 1 out of every 100 adults and 1 out of every 200 kids in the United States. But, you might wonder, what does guilt have to do with it?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is characterized by unwanted, repetitive, and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or actions referred to as compulsions. To be diagnosed with OCD, symptoms must cause clinically significant distress, take up an hour or more per day, or impact your life and functioning. The obsessions and compulsions seen in those with OCD can take many different forms, sometimes referred to as subtypes. Common subtypes include but aren’t limited to contamination OCD, symmetry and ordering OCD, purely obsessive OCD, and harm OCD.
The Link Between OCD And Guilt
Someone with OCD may feel unwarranted guilt for a number of reasons, some of the most common being guilt over intrusive thoughts, mental images, and compulsions. Intrusive thoughts in those with OCD might sound something like, “touch the hot stove,” “check the phone again to make sure that nothing happened to your mom; if something does, it’s your fault,” or “make sure the door is locked again, or an intruder will come in and hurt your family.” Compulsions might look like ensuring the door is locked repeatedly, washing excessively, arranging items, or repeating words and phrases internally. These thoughts and actions may take up hours of a person’s day. Avoidance is another symptom of OCD that can cause guilt.
Unwarranted feelings of guilt are only one way that OCD can impact your life. OCD can affect anyone, and if you have OCD, it isn’t your fault. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can make it difficult to engage in daily activities, such as work, school, taking care of the home, engaging with other people, and so much more. It’s hard to understand OCD if you don’t have it, and common narratives about OCD or stereotypes about what it means to have OCD are often false. So, what can you do?
Getting Help For OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a treatable condition. One of the leading treatments for OCD is therapy. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a common therapy used to address OCD. Some people attend therapy alone, where others combine therapy with medication* to treat OCD. If you believe that you may have OCD, it’s important to talk to a medical or mental health provider who can help. To receive a diagnosis, you must see a professional who is qualified to diagnose mental disorders, such as a psychiatrist. There are therapists who specialize in working with OCD, and finding a specialist is highly recommended if you’re struggling. If you don’t like the first therapist you see, or if the first form of treatment you try doesn’t work, it’s okay to switch. You deserve quality care, and it is possible to live a long, healthy, happy life with OCD.
*Please consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options.
Find A Therapist
Whether you’re struggling with symptoms of a mental health condition, life stressors, interpersonal relationships, or something else that’s on your mind, therapy can help. To find a therapist, you can search the web, ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, or sign up for a reputable online therapy platform like BetterHelp. Online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling or therapy is without insurance, and it allows you to see a licensed professional from the privacy of your own home or anywhere else with a reliable internet connection. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help today.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.