Do you worry about the meaning of life? Do you frequently ask yourself what it all means? If so, you may be struggling with existential OCD. This type of OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts and doubts about the meaning of life. If you are struggling with this type of OCD, don’t worry – you are not alone. In this blog post, we will discuss what existential OCD is, as well as some tips for how to deal with it.
What Is Existential OCD?
The word existential is basically defined as a “philosophical concept concerned with the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality.” So when you put OCD and existential together, you get a pretty interesting mental disorder that can cause a lot of distress and turmoil in a person’s life.
Existential OCD is characterized by excessive worry and rumination about Big Questions in life. For example:
- What is the meaning of life?
- Why am I here?
- What happens when I die?
These are the types of questions that someone with existential OCD might fixate on. And because there are no definite answers to these types of questions, it can lead to a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. For example, a person with existential OCD might be afraid of dying because they don’t know what will happen to them after death.
They may also worry excessively about making the “wrong” decision or taking the “wrong” path in life. As a result, people with existential OCD often experience significant anxiety and may avoid making decisions altogether. Therefore, it is important to understand the symptoms of existential OCD so that you can seek treatment if necessary.
Why Existential OCD Is Misdiagnosed?
It is very common for Existential OCD (Existential-OCD) to be misdiagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or even Depression. The main reason for this is that the symptoms of Existential OCD can be very similar to other mental disorders.
Another reason why Existential OCD is often misdiagnosed is that it is not well known. In fact, it is believed to be one of the rarest forms of OCD. It is estimated that only about 0.25% of the population suffers from Existential OCD.
The main difference between Existential OCD and other mental disorders is that the obsessions and compulsions of Existential OCD are focused on existential fears. These can include fears of death, meaninglessness, and emptiness. Moreover, it is also believed that this condition is misdiagnosed due to a lack of understanding by mental health professionals.
Therefore, you need to find the right mental health professional to get an accurate diagnosis. It is important to find someone who is familiar with Existential OCD and can help you understand your condition. Once you have received a proper diagnosis, you can begin treatment and start living a more fulfilling life. So what are you waiting for? Get help today!
What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
As we have discussed that signs and symptoms of existential OCD can be quite varied, it might be helpful to compile a list of some common ones. Remember that not everyone will experience all of these and they can present themselves in different ways to different people. Some signs that you may have existential OCD include:
- Feeling like your life has no purpose or meaning
- Doubting your existence or questioning whether you are real
- Obsessing over death or the fear of dying
- Worrying that you are not living the “right” life
- Feeling like you are not good enough or that you don’t deserve to be happy
- Questioning your sexual orientation or identity
- Doubting your religious beliefs or lack thereof
- Feeling like the world is meaningless or that human beings are pointless
- Obsessing over whether you have made the right choices in life
- Overthinking all of your decisions
- Ruminating on what could have been if you had made different choices
- Feeling like you are trapped in a cycle of Groundhog Day where everything is the same and there is no escape
The term existential is actually very common for some people with OCD. And is often used in a more general sense to describe any obsessions or compulsions that involve life’s bigger questions. You may hear people refer to “existential OCD” when in reality they are talking about a range of different themes and topics that fall under the umbrella of existentialism.
So, if you feel like you can relate to any of the above, it is possible that you are suffering from existential OCD. If this is the case, there are some things that you can do to ease your symptoms and start to feel better. You just need to be willing to seek out help and support.
What Causes Existential OCD?
It might be helpful to think of existential OCD as stemming from two main causes:
- fear of death, and
- fear of meaninglessness.
These two fears often go hand-in-hand, as it can be hard to imagine a life that has no inherent purpose or value. For people with existential OCD, the thought of living in a world without any real justification for existence is unbearable.
Moreover, some of the other causes and risk factors might include:
- A history of anxiety or depression
- Traumatic life events
- Certain personality traits, such as being highly sensitive or introspective
These risk factors are not exhaustive, and it’s important to remember that everyone experiences existential anxiety in different ways. As studies have found that existential anxiety is a relatively common experience, it’s likely that many people have some form of existential OCD without even realizing it.
However, it is to be said that this type of OCD is not considered a mental disorder in and of itself. In other words, the diagnosis of existential OCD is difficult to make as it would require a great deal of impairment in someone’s day-to-day functioning. Thus, it is more accurate to think of existential OCD as a subtype of OCD that is characterized by certain obsessions and compulsions.
How To Treat It?
When you have existential OCD, you might feel like your life is meaningless. You might have a hard time finding things to enjoy or be interested in. You may feel like you’re just going through the motions day by day without any purpose.
Existential OCD can be treated with medication and therapy. If you have this condition, it’s to be aware of the different treatment options to manage the condition. Let’s discuss some of the most effective methods for existential OCD treatment.
CBT is considered the most effective form of therapy for existential OCD. This type of therapy focuses on helping you change the way you think about your condition. You’ll learn how to challenge and reframe your negative thoughts. CBT can help you see that your life has meaning and purpose, even if you have OCD. It aims at helping you live in the present moment and not worry about the future.
Exposure and response prevention therapy
This type of therapy focuses on helping you face your fears head-on. You’ll be exposed to the things that trigger your OCD, such as thoughts about death or dying. Once you’re exposed to these triggers, you’ll learn how to control your anxiety and not give in to your OCD compulsions. It works by helping you build up your tolerance to anxiety-provoking situations. For example, if someone is afraid of flying, a therapist may help them confront their fear by gradually exposing them to more and more anxiety-provoking situations related to flying, such as watching videos about airplane crashes or turbulence.
There are several types of medication that can be used to treat OCD. The most common type of medication is antidepressants. These can be effective in treating the obsessions and compulsions associated with OCD. Antidepressants work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. This can help to reduce anxiety and improve mood. Other types of medication that can be used to treat OCD include:
- Anti-anxiety medication
These medications can be effective in treating anxiety and existential OCD symptoms. However, it is important to discuss all the risks and benefits of these medications with your doctor before starting any medication. Because everyone is different, what works for one person may not work for another.
This is something that should not be replaced with professional help. In fact, it should be used in addition to it. If you suffer from existential OCD, here are some tips that might help you:
- Find a therapist who specializes in OCD treatment. This is important because they will understand your unique condition and be better equipped to help you.
- Educate yourself about your disorder. The more you know about it, the less scary it will be.
- Challenge your negative thoughts. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that they are just thoughts and not reality.
- Practice self-compassion. Be gentle with yourself and don’t beat yourself up for having this disorder. It’s not your fault and you’re not alone.
- Focus on the present moment. This can be difficult when you’re constantly worrying about the future, but it’s important to remember that right now, you are safe and everything is okay.
- Connect with others who understand what you’re going through. This can be a great source of support and understanding.
These are a few tips that can actually help you if you suffer from existential OCD. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that there is help available. If you feel like you can’t handle this on your own, please reach out to a professional. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
There are several online support groups for people with OCD, which can be a great resource. But the primary step must be to talk to a professional. Because this condition is not easy to deal with on your own. You need someone to help you understand and manage your thoughts and feelings. So, if you think you might have existential OCD, please reach out for help. It is available, and things can get better.
To wrap up, it is to be said that existential OCD is a very real and debilitating form of OCD that can be extremely distressing for those who suffer from it. However, there are treatment options available and with the right support, recovery is possible. People with this condition should be sure to seek professional help in order to get the most effective treatment.
According to studies, this seems to be one of the more difficult types of OCD to treat. In some cases, people may even have to go through multiple treatment methods before finding something that works for them. However, it is important to remember that there is hope and with the right help, people can and do recover from this disorder.
You can also contact Therapy Mantra for help in dealing with existential OCD. We have a team of professional therapists who can provide you with the support and guidance you need to recover from this condition. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online counseling and therapy session or download our free OCD treatment app on Android or iOS.