I am somewhat of an anxious person in general, but this is the only situation in which I have not been able to overcome my fear. Fear of trapping your dog in a hot car or other vehicle. Who wouldn’t take a few seconds — a few minutes — a few hours to make sure that everything’s okay? “I may not know whether or not these thoughts or ‘urges” are safe, but I’m going to get a lot of practice experiencing them and putting myself in situations where I feel vulnerable to them.”. I found it fascinating, and no matter how you might interpret the various studies discussed in the article, I think it is hard to argue with the belief that animals do indeed form relationships, and are empathetic. I fear that when I take my dogs out for walks (always on leashes) other people’s dogs might attack them. Let’s begin by identifying some examples of pet- and animal-focused OCD harm obsessions: These OCD violent obsessions often focus on preventing possible harm to pets or other animals. Your email address will not be published. Sounds off below. Thank you so much, once again. Once people get better at dealing with these situations, a third technique involves actively agreeing with the unwanted thought and magnifying it. When I have patients who struggle with this, (e.g., What if I’m REALLY a serial killer? This is common with many types of obsessions, including harm and sexual obsessions. Pets. Fear that you may drop and injure your guinea pig while holding them. Get ready to brace yourself for all sorts of violent and horrific thoughts about pets and animals. Similar to obsessions in other forms of Pure-O OCD, these violent obsessions often evoke a preponderance of Pure-O OCD mental rituals. Sometimes this is uncomfortable. However, Sexual Intrusive thoughts are a common subtype of OCD that many people experience. I think it’s a mix of fear + anxiety + imagination + our regular need to “check” if it’s real… but I just really wanted to find a “professional” answer/explanation about the “mechanism” of the urges and why do they happen. In vivo and imaginal exposure for OCD can be transformative for reducing your symptoms. What is going on with me? Fear that you may drop and injure your guinea pig while holding them. Thank you! Intrusive images/movies in your head of harming your pet. Thanks: 2. Sometimes this is uncomfortable. Pet obsessions may focus on harm, violence, contamination, scrupulosity, and sex. For awhile I used to push through it, distracting myself on walks by listening to music on headphones or talking on the phone, but then an incident happened where my neighbor’s dog broke through their electric fence and attacked my dog, and I’ve pretty much been unable to walk the dogs since. Intrusive urges/impulses to murder or maim your pet while holding him/her (e.g., the impulse to break its neck, strangle it). At first, it can be difficult to ignore and resist these rituals. You may feel negligent, irresponsible, careless, or evil. The challenge in dealing with OCD is that most everyone with harm obsessions has doubts about whether or not they truly have OCD. I worry all the time about leaving them in the yard and what they could eat, etc. After all, compulsions tend to be framed in the most helpful of terms. As everyone should know, OCD involves obsessions (intrusive thoughts) that cause distress. Are they real “urges”, do we deep down really want to do it…or are they a mix of fear + imagination, or something like that? I don’t fear the violent images in my head anymore… now the worst part is doubting myself, my own values and morals. Here are some examples…. Fear of being a serial killer or sociopath and taking action to harm, murder, or kill your pet. Fear of not closing the front door properly and having your cat or dog escape and be hurt or killed. They often involve “what if” thoughts about the possibility of harming your pet while in an altered mental state. Worries include the fear of causing harm through negligence or irresponsibility. What does OCD stand for in Animals? Obsessions about pets and other animals can occur across all species. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other healthcare provider promptly. Here in the U.S., many people don’t have access to a local OCD specialist, and they may consult with remote providers, as needed. Thank you.can you explain what impulse is,and what it can feels like?can it feels like a want to act?is it like a urge? Fear of blacking out and harming your pet due to the effects of a new medication you’re taking. Be careful to not fall into over-analyzing even the term “urges.” I think this can easily become a form of reassurance. Fear of unintentionally putting your mouse in the microwave. Fear that your dog’s leash may break during a walk and your pet might be killed. Fear of not closing the front door properly and having your cat or dog escape and be hurt or killed. My therapist helps greatly however I was not able to bring myself to tell her about this. Fear that you may accidentally harm your rabbit/puppy/kitten while holding it (i.e., break its neck). One more thing — it also sounds like part of your struggle is that you’re blending “urges” with “intentions.” It sounds like you feel that intentions drive urges, or that urges are a natural byproduct of intentions or “desires” or “wants.” Wouldn’t it be freeing if you didn’t see it that way? Your initial exposures might consist of activities in the ~3 range. Different Types of OCD Intrusive Thoughts. A person with experience of intrusive thoughts and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and a leading OCD psychiatrist, explain how to deal with unwanted thoughts. They always get excited when they see you. I happen to love all dogs and really have no fear of being around them myself. Only a bad person would ignore those thoughts, right? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. For many pet-related violent obsessions, you may fear that resisting certain compulsions could result in your pet’s injury or death. For example, you may perceive that if you don’t do a certain ritual, something bad may happen. They’re so cute. And the feeling I will willingly choose to act on it soon. These sexual obsessions may involve sexual activities that are counter to your sexual orientation or preferences which can cause distress and confusion. Embrace and welcome your OCD thoughts and they will lose power over you. Pure-O OCD thoughts about pets and animals include sexual obsessions (What if I'm sexually attracted to my pet?) It can come in the form of obsessions over harming loved ones, strangers or even yourself. I can recall the earliest incidents going back 20 years (with different dogs), but it is only in the last 5-6 years that my fear has increasingly inhibited my ability to enjoy being outside with my dogs. In this 3-part blog series, I discuss some of the common ways obsessions may target our lovable, snuggable friends. What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Many people struggle with this. Also, to be clear, harm OCD doesn’t need to be just your pets. I will sometimes think “the only way out is acting on these thoughts” and fear I’ll choose (not lose control) to act on them soon. Those with intrusive thoughts from OCD or complex PTSD intrusive thoughts benefit from mindfulness exercises but usually require treatment past self-help also. OCD intrusive thoughts vary by the individual. But I still can’t comprehend the nature of these “urges”. Fear of inadvertently trapping your dog or cat in the dishwasher. “Maybe this urge is ‘real.’ Maybe it’s not. Fear that a wild animal nearby may be in danger and feeling the need to seek it out and protect it (in the absence of any information that this is actually occurring). Some people feel a level of comfort when they’re disturbed by their thoughts but then frantically begin to second-guess themselves when they begin to habituate to the thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are a core symptom of OCD, and something that virtually all of those diagnosed with OCD suffer from. I told myself I would take a long break before getting new dogs. But that’s just the tactic that OCD uses to manipulate you in order to keep itself strong. I’m sick of feeling like this. Animal OCD: Obsessions that surround feeling or worry about feeling attraction towards animals, hurting animals or any intrusive thought to do with animals. They’re so cuddly. ‘Why am I having those bizarre, sick, disgusting, unwanted thoughts?’” Sexually Intrusive Thoughts OCD involves unwanted sexual thoughts, often involving children, family members, inappropriate persons, animals, or violence. Unfortunately, not even man’s best friend is immune from OCD’s influence. I have since been diagnosed with OCD. I love this dog so much and she’s small sometimes I get a voice in my head to slap her or choke her and last night for like a second I chocked her and my poor dog looked at my as if she was being betrayed. People living with POCD have no desire to harm a child, yet they’re tormented by thoughts of doing so. Cognitive Therapy for Treatment of OCD Intrusive Thoughts. Maybe i have to let them live alone with out me.. Here are some examples…. Only a bad person would ignore those thoughts, right? After all, compulsions tend to be framed in the most helpful of terms. ), then they have many different options for dealing with it. If you’re not doing rituals, what should you do instead? Intrusive thoughts can be disturbing, but are completely normal. It involves staring your fear in the eye. These violent obsessions are similar to those above but focus on a loss of control. •The OCD Center of Los Angeles is a private, outpatient clinic specializing in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related anxiety based conditions. If so, what would ERP look like in my situation? Most animal hoarders fall victim to their good intentions and end up emotionally overwhelmed, socially isolated, and alienated from family and friends. If you’re not doing rituals, what should you do instead? Fortunately we have a fenced yard at my home, and a large enclosed field for them to run around in at our vacation home, so they do get outside, but even so it causes me great stress and guilt that they can no longer enjoy daily walks with me. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). Hug your pet, hold your pet, and walk away from the gate without looking back. The only therapist I know who could help me can do CBT but she doesn’t apply ERP; she basically only tells us to stop reacting to the toughts and focus on something else. It doesn’t matter what type of pet you have. I considered it a phobia and have avoided the fear by keeping the dogs confined. These violent obsessions are similar to those above but focus on a loss of control. All day I’ve been thinking about my poor dog and honestly kind of scared for the next time I see her it makes me feel so messed up. Regardless, the most helpful approach would involve developing an exposure hierarchy. I live in a very poor place in Brazil and have no ways to seek treatment. But pursuing this too much really is an attempt to make your thoughts “safe” or get certainty that you won’t do anything to harm anyone. In reality, doing rituals and following OCD’s directives is short-sighted. These violent obsessions are similar to those above but focus on a loss of control. These thoughts might even have you questioning your sexual identity, which many individuals find extremely disturbing. OCD about animals is breaking my dog's heart. I doubt myself… lately I’ve been thinking I actually want to act on my violent thoughts, that I would enjoy to act on them and something inside of me wants me to “check” if I really want todo it. They often over-interpret (and overreact to) unwanted thoughts. I also think your search for finding a good explanation is a reassurance-based ritual. I have noticed that the compulsion is bigger with my older cat, as she has some white hair of age, sometimes when I look at her I feel anxious to think she’s getting old. Thank you so much for the tips, your help and taking you time to explain and talk to us, that’s so kind of you. Required fields are marked *, Steven J. Seay, Ph.D. | 11380 Prosperity Farms Road #209A | Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 | (561) 444-8040. How A Service Animal Can Help Someone With OCD. Thank you so much for your answer, Dr. Seay! Intrusive images/movies in your head of harming your pet. Its been 5 days without looking or touching at their teeth. The term "animal hoarding" refers to the compulsive need to collect and own animals for the sake of caring for them that results in accidental or unintentional neglect or abuse. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that intrude into a child/teen’s mind and cause a great deal of anxiety or discomfort, which the child/teen then tries to reduce by engaging in repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). Fear that if you complete a certain behavior while having a bad thought, the. I’ve always had horrible intrusive thoughts and have always had terrible anxiety over them. I have had several actual experiences like this where other dogs were not on leashes or got away from their owners and ended up being aggressive or actually attacked my dogs. Imaginal Exposure vs. It’s greatly appreciated. Service animals have been trained to effectively aid owners with all sorts of needs and disabilities—even those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a … If you get consistent practice in tackling lower level exposures, the anxiety should diminish, which will empower you to tackle some of the more difficult ones. The great thing in your situation is that you sound highly motivated. A core symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is obsessions, which are unwanted, distressing, and uncontrollable thoughts.The content and themes of these intrusive thoughts vary but are often of a disturbing nature. Just as OCD tends to torment parents who love their children, OCD also loves to torment pet owners who love their pets. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. That never occurred to me before as I have no apparent rituals (unless avoidance can be considered a ritual). & scrupulosity (What if I harm my pet? Some of them were loose, and so the compulsion would include to move them smoothly just to see how loose they were. Fear of sleepwalking and causing harm to your pet in your sleep. Do you experience OCD about pets or other animals? Hope you have a great, peaceful week. (561) 444-8040 Home Fear of becoming possessed and harming your pet. Can it still be ocd if I’ve acted on these these thoughts to check and see if I like it? 1) Practice mindfulness to notice the urge, but work on observing it rather than judging it. Pet obsessions may focus on harm, violence, contamination, scrupulosity, and sex. Part 2 will cover contamination obsessions, fear of causing harm through negligence or irresponsibility, fear that you might secretly want to harm, Getting mad and then fearing that you secretly want to harm, Contamination Obsessions Involving Pets and Animals, Center for Psychological & Behavioral Science. They most certainly don’t. Avoidance is considered a type of ritual, so OCD would be a possibility. Fear that a wild animal nearby may be in danger and feeling the need to seek it out and protect it (in the absence of any information that this is actually occurring). At some point, you have to accept that science and experts can’t exactly give you the answers you seek, and that the most healthy goal is to accept the uncertainty and get practice feeling it. Unfortunately, not even man’s best friend is immune from OCD’s influence. Sit with the feeling and don’t define the experience based on your fear. I have every symptom of harm ocd and have dealt with other themes of ocd including the pedophilia one, incest, thinking I’m a sociopath, thinking I have schizophrenia, thinking something bad will happen to my family if I don’t do a certain compulsion , etc… but the thing that won’t let me get passed my harm ocd, if that’s what it is, is that I’ve hurt animals. Licensed Psychologist         (561) 444-8040, Posted by Steven J. Seay, Ph.D. on Nov 16, 2016 in Checking-Related Symptoms, Harm-Related Symptoms, OCD | 22 comments. Better brush my teeth three times to get the thought out of my head.Would I hurt a baby? Animals OCD abbreviation meaning defined here. Fear of unintentionally putting your mouse in the microwave. Fear that you may roll over and crush your puppy or kitten in your sleep. Even walking to the bottom of the driveway makes me extremely anxious. ). Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, bunnies, snakes, flying squirrels, chinchillas, mice, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils, potbellied pigs, fish, horses, cows, chickens, frogs, turtles, lizards, YOU NAME IT! They want perfect proof that they’re not dangerous. You gotta love ‘em. I don’t even like the idea of anyone else taking them for walks, but I can sometimes allow it. This article, Part 1, will focus on harm obsessions; Part 2 will cover contamination obsessions; and Part 3 will address sexual obsessions and scrupulosity, as they pertain to pets and animals. Fear of leaving on an appliance (e.g., a stove, curling iron), starting a fire, and burning down your house…thereby killing your pet. Fear of losing consciousness and harming your pet. From the instant we got home, I did not want them anymore because I knew they would some day die, like my goldens. parents. Although compulsions may feel good initially, rituals and avoidance provide only short-lived relief and ultimately perpetuate OCD’s game plan. They often involve “what if” thoughts about the possibility of harming your pet while in an altered mental state. If you have OCD, any rituals or avoidance you might engage in will only make it worse. Thankfully, no serious harm ever resulted, but I was quite shaken each time. The list goes on and on. OCD About Pets and Animals: Harm was originally published on Steven J. 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