Principles of exposure and response prevention are useful for obsessive thoughts that are absent of physical rituals. This blog is about the treatment of ‘Morbid Obsessions.’
Morbid obsessions are when a person has intense fears that they attempt to neutralize through mental rituals. For example, if an individual with OCD experiences frequent religious blasphemous thoughts, he or she may try to reduce the discomfort by saying a short prayer to themselves. Similarly, a person who has thoughts of harming a loved one will often try to neutralize their anxiety by using thought stopping/blocking or by repeatedly assuring themselves of how much they love their family member and that they could never harm them.
Other sufferers with obsessional thoughts alone often have more elaborate and definite rituals. For example, they may have to mentally retrace their steps to ensure they did not harm anyone while driving to their destination. Or they may have to remember whether anything sharp stuck into their body because they fear contracting AIDS. Or they may have, to say something a certain number of times to avoid some disaster. When the problem of obsessional thoughts occur in this way, the treatment for the condition is readily apparent and involves exposure to the anxiety-provoking thought while, at the same time, not engaging in cognitive or mental rituals to lessen the discomfort.
EXPOSURE MAY APPEAR DIFFICULT AT FIRST BUT FACE THE CHALLENGE
Exposing oneself to the fear and anxiety can seem like the impossible. But, the truth is that it is not only possible but also necessary to overcome one the greatest challenges you may ever face.
If you don’t rise to the occasion and Face Your Fears, the irrational thoughts will only grow like weeds and overtake your mind the place where all your talents, gifts, and abilities exist. If unattended, the Irrational Fears will knock you out of your life.
Your decision today, not someday, will shape the peace you will live with in the future.