Why worrying is one form of OCD

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Worrying and OCD

OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is a disorder that forces people to keep repeating a certain behavior over and over as a result of an obsessive thought that they constantly get. If for example a person has an obsessive hand washing compulsion then first he will get an obsessive thought about the cleanliness of his hands then as a result of this thought he will feel like washing his hands.

Now even after washing his hands that person would still feel that his hands are not clean and so he will keep repeating that same behaviour over and over.

Now worrying works in the same way in many cases. At first a person gets a negative thought that motivates him to worry. Soon after that the person tries to think of way out in an obsessive manner. See How to stop obsessive worrying

But because people usually worry about things that are totally out of their control their worrying never ends and they remain stuck in that obsessive compulsive cycle for so long.

How worrying leads to obsession

The other problem that this behaviour leads to is the formation of more obsessive thoughts. As the person keeps worrying he starts to think of more negative scenarios that feed his worrying in turn. In such a case the person gets into an endless cycle of worrying and obsessing but never feels relieved.

If a person started to obsesses about his results in an interview then shortly he might find himself thinking of scenarios that are very less likely to happen such as remaining jobless for a year for example.

The problem with such thoughts is that they will seem so real to the person in such a way that thinking rationally becomes an impossible task. See Why worrying is irrational

In my previous article How worrying promotes more worrying i said that once a person gives in to the first negative thought he can fall into an endless cycle of worrying that never ends.

In the same article i suggested pushing the first thought away to stop it right away before it grows bigger. But what if in some cases you failed to do so?
or what if the obsessive thoughts became too strong for you to handle them?
In such a case you need to work on building tolerance

Building tolerance to fight worrying

There are two types of tolerance you need to build in order to fight worrying. The first is tolerance for uncertainty which involves teaching yourself to let go of your intense desire to control everything. See The desire to be in control promotes worrying

When doing that you need to first train on matters that are not that important to you for it would be very hard to do that for the things you are really concerned about.

The next type of tolerance needed is tolerance to face the worst outcome. Yes i understand that in some cases the worst outcome can be dreadful but in many cases that worst outcome can be handled with the right action plan in place.

If the obsessive thoughts became so intense then work on a plan to handle that worst outcome if it ever happened. Once you feel that you are prepared to face the worst your worrying will become much less.

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