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Intrusive thoughts and OCD

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Q. Ok here’s the deal. I’m pretty sure I have OCD after reading a lot of articles about it, I feel i do have the disorder. I think I even know when it severely started. My compulsions are hand washing and it started one day when I got urine on my wrist and therefore, I kept feeling that it spread all the way up to my armpits so I would constantly wash it aimlessly. I would put soap and not wash it off even though knowing that soap does not “kill” germs exactly. I’ve reduced it back to handwashing again and I don’t take as long to wash my hands now. I still take excessively long showers yet I have reduced it from two hours to 40 minutes. Occasionally, I have episodes in which I wash my arms again or I take two hours, but that happens maybe once every month. I know that I can cure the handwashing and I’m trying to reduce it. My main concern is the intrusive thoughts that occur and therefore, I use silent words. These thoughts have varied over the years and I always shift from one topic to another. I am trying to cure that as well, yet I am unsuccessful. My parents do know about the handwashing, but not the intrusive thoughts. I, being too embarrassed, refused to take therapy when my parents offered to take me. They think I am cured now and have left it alone. I realize I should have gone then and I’m too scared to tell them again that I do need help. I want to attain help, but I do not know how to go about it. I would like to know what I can do and how I can go about curing myself. By the way, I scored a 19 on the OCD Diagnostic. Please reply soon.

Intrusive thoughts and OCD

Answered by on -

A.

It sounds like you have had some success in reducing the compulsions of hand washing and showering. I commend you on all the work you are doing to rid yourself of the compulsions but you still have work to do. You must work hard not to give life to thoughts that are completely illogical. Even though you “feel” that urine was traveling up your arm, we both know in reality, this is not the case. Urine is itself sterile in all healthy persons. It is important to focus on what’s true and not true and to always challenge the validity of your thoughts.

Your parents sound open to the idea of therapy. You should be honest with them and take them up on their offer. Getting help to solve a problem is nothing to be embarrassed about. Not getting help means that you continue to suffer and risk creating a bigger problem for yourself that may be harder for you and your parents.

Intrusive thoughts and OCD

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Intrusive thoughts and OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/03/20/intrusive-thoughts-and-ocd/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.