Do you have obsessive thoughts about your body? Are you constantly worried that you are injured or ill, even though there is no evidence to support your fears? If so, you may be suffering from somatic OCD. This type of OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts and images about the body. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss all aspects of somatic OCD, including causes, symptoms, treatment options, and more!
What Is Somatic OCD?
Somatic OCD is described as a subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that is focused on bodily sensations and concerns. People with this type of OCD may be preoccupied with the fear of contracting an illness, or they may obsessively worry about their physical appearance or body functions.
This can lead to compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand-washing, checking for physical symptoms, or seeking reassurance from others. Somatic OCD can be a very debilitating condition, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
According to studies, people with Somatic OCD tend to be more perfectionistic and have higher levels of anxiety than those with other types of OCD. They may also be more likely to engage in health-related compulsions, such as excessive exercise or dieting.
Somatic OCD can be difficult to treat, but there are effective treatments available. If you think you may have Somatic OCD, it’s important to seek professional help. A qualified mental health professional can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of somatic OCD are not always easy to spot. This is because they often present themselves in seemingly normal behaviors. For example, someone with somatic OCD may excessively worry about breathing correctly or they may check their pulse obsessively.
Some common obsessions in somatic OCD include:
- Paying attention to wrists, neck, and fingers to check movements
- Obsessively focusing on the movements of your eyes
- Observing how you feel when you walk or run
- Constantly monitoring your posture
- Frequent self-touching, such as skin picking or hair pulling
- Excessive grooming behaviors, such as showering, shaving, or flossing
Some common compulsions in somatic OCD include:
- Why am I breathing loud?
- Manual breathing exercises
- Checking if you blinked correctly
- Touching objects to “ground” yourself
- Checking your pulse frequently
- Unable to pay attention to heartbeats
These symptoms can cause significant distress and interfere with a person’s ability to function in their day-to-day life. If you think you or someone you know may have somatic OCD, it’s important to seek professional help. Moreover, somatic OCD is often accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Thus, it’s important to seek treatment from a mental health professional who is experienced in treating these types of disorders. Otherwise, it can be difficult to manage the symptoms and improve one’s quality of life.
What Causes Somatic OCD?
The exact cause of somatic OCD is unknown. However, several risk factors may contribute to its development, such as:
Somatic OCD may be more common in people who have family members with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or another mental health condition. Somatic OCD is a more specific form of OCD. For example, if someone in your family has OCD and is obsessed with sensations and their body, you may be more likely to develop somatic OCD.
People with somatic OCD seem to be more perfectionistic than people without the disorder. They also tend to be more self-critical and have higher standards for themselves. People with somatic OCD may also be more likely to have other anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. The bodily sensations make the person feel as if they are in danger, which can lead to a feeling of anxiety or panic.
Some research suggests that exposure to certain toxins or infections may trigger somatic OCD. For example, if someone close to you has a severe illness or dies, this can lead to increased anxiety and the development of somatic OCD symptoms. There is also some evidence that suggests that people who have experienced trauma (such as physical or sexual abuse) are more likely to develop somatic OCD.
Stressful life events
Traumatic experiences, such as abuse, neglect, or the death of a loved one, may increase the risk of developing somatic OCD. Because these events can be difficult to cope with, people may try to control their bodies in an attempt to feel safer. For example, a person who was abused as a child may develop somatic OCD and become obsessed with the idea that they are dirty or contaminated.
Other risk factors for developing somatic OCD might include hormonal imbalance, certain medical conditions, and genetic predisposition. So the cause and risk factors of developing somatic OCD can be quite varied. However, it is important to remember that anyone can develop this disorder, regardless of their background or circumstances.
If you are struggling with obsessions and compulsions related to your body, please seek professional help. There are many resources available to you and treatment can be very effective. You don’t have to suffer alone. Reach out for help today.
How To Deal With Somatic OCD?
Somatic OCD is a type of OCD where people are obsessed with their physical health and well-being. People with somatic OCD are constantly worried about their physical health and often seek reassurance from doctors and loved ones.
There are a few things you can do to help deal with somatic OCD:
Talk to a therapist
A therapist can help you understand your OCD and develop coping mechanisms. This is one of the most important things you can do to help deal with your OCD. It is believed that therapy helps people with OCD by teaching them how to better manage their anxiety. Several types of therapy can be effective for treating OCD, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
This is not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most effective therapies for treating OCD. It is believed that therapies are natural and one of the best ways to help people with OCD.
In some cases, people with OCD may need to take medication to help manage their symptoms. Medication is not a cure for OCD, but it can help lessen the severity of symptoms and make them more manageable. Some people with OCD may only need to take medication for a short period, while others may need to take it for the rest of their lives. Some of the common examples include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
It is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
Get support from loved ones
Support from loved ones can be incredibly helpful when dealing with somatic OCD. Having people to talk to who understand what you’re going through can make a big difference. There are also many online support groups available that can offer additional support. However, family and loved ones could be a great support system.
Also, one study has found that people with social support have less intrusive thoughts. So, if you don’t have a lot of social support, try to find some friends or join a support group. There is support available but the first step should be from your side.
Do relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques can help you deal with the anxiety that comes with somatic OCD. It calms your mind and body, which can help reduce your focus on your symptoms. Some common relaxation techniques include:
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Deep breathing exercises
Doing relaxation techniques can help you ease your anxiety and calm your body down. It is important to find a relaxation technique that works for you and practice it regularly. If you are having difficulty finding a relaxation technique that works for you, consider talking to a mental health professional.
Keep a journal
Journals are believed to be helpful for a number of reasons. For one, they can help you track your thoughts and behaviors over time. This can be useful in spotting patterns and triggers. Additionally, the simple act of writing can be therapeutic in and of itself.
There are no hard and fast rules for journaling. Some people prefer to write stream-of-consciousness style, while others prefer to answer specific questions. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Simply write whatever feels most natural to you.
Take care of yourself
This is one of the crucial things that you can do to manage your somatic OCD. There are several things you can do to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
First, make sure you are getting enough sleep. This may seem difficult, but it is important to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. You can also try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
Second, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This will help you to feel your best and be able to cope with stress. Both of these things can be difficult when you are struggling with somatic OCD, but they are important for your overall health.
Finally, it is important to find ways to relax and de-stress. This can be different for everyone, but some things you may want to try include yoga, spending time in nature, enjoying your other hobbies, or listening to calming music.
Be consistent and calm
This is one of the final things that you must try to do in order to ease your somatic OCD symptoms. You need to be consistent with the way you are treating your body and your mind. This means that you cannot have one day where you are really strict with your diet and the next day you eat whatever you want. You also cannot have one day where you do a lot of research on your symptoms and the next day you ignore it. You need to be consistent in order to see results.
Moreover, you should try to remain calm throughout the process. This is easier said than done, but it is crucial. If you get too stressed about your symptoms, it will only make them worse. So, try to take deep breaths and relax as much as you can.
If you follow these tips, you should start to see a decrease in your somatic OCD symptoms. However, if you are still struggling, please reach out to a mental health professional for help. Somatic OCD can be a really tough disorder to deal with, but it is possible to ease your symptoms. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and remain calm. Good luck!
To conclude, somatic OCD is simply a sub-type of OCD that is focused on physical sensations and/or bodily functions. It can be just as debilitating as other types of OCD, but with the right treatment, you can overcome it. In fact, many people with somatic OCD go on to live happy, healthy lives because they are able to manage their condition. So, if you think you might have this type of OCD, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
There are many resources available to help you better understand and manage your somatic OCD. You just need to be willing to ask for help and put in the work to get better. You can also contact Therapy Mantra for online services to help you overcome your somatic OCD. With the right treatment, you can live a happy and healthy life in spite of your condition.
So, don’t give up hope and reach out for help today. We have a team of professional therapists who can provide you with the support and guidance you need to recover from this condition. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free OCD treatment app on Android or iOS.