Cognitive distortions common in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a complex disease with multiple causes and risk factors, understanding the psychological factors that cause OCD symptoms and keep them going is essential to make the most of treatment. It is now clear that obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by many thinking errors called cognitive distortions, which can lead to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Cognitive distortion is a way of thinking that negatively distorts the way we see the world, ourselves, and others.First discovered by pioneering cognitive behavioral therapist Aaron Baker that cognitive distortions are common in many forms of mental illness, including mood and anxiety disorders.

Cognitive therapists have identified many cognitive distortions that seem to be particularly common among people with OCD. Identifying and challenging these distortions is a core component of OCD psychotherapy.

Thoughts are too important

Through a process called thought-action fusion, people with OCD tend to equate their thoughts with actions. For example, if you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may think that having unnecessary thoughts of harming your loved ones is morally equivalent to actually harming them. You might also think that this kind of thinking means that you really want to hurt the person you love deep down.

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Although the thoughts themselves are actually harmless, for some people with OCD, the obvious meaning and consequences of these thoughts cause them to be labeled as dangerous and immediately pushed away. Unfortunately, suppressing these ideas will only make them worse than before.

Overestimate the danger

People with OCD often overestimate the possibility of danger and the consequences of doing something wrong or imperfectly. For example, if you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may think that the probability of being fired is very high. If you make any mistakes at work, even small mistakes, you may be fired.

This kind of thinking can protect against terrible dangers by leading to over-examination or other types of repetitive behaviors, thereby contributing to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Of course, this worry may be justified, but in most cases, this overestimation of the danger is unfounded.

Inflation of Responsibility

If you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, you will usually overestimate your responsibility for the event and ignore, ignore or underestimate other possible effects. For example, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder may think that if a person goes to work at the wrong time, it will trigger a sports event and cause a plane crash.

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To prevent this from happening, people with OCD may force themselves to eliminate or eliminate this negative result, such as repeating a phrase over and over again or leaving and returning to the house multiple times.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to imagine how going to work at the wrong time would cause the plane to crash, and it would be illogical to repeat the phrase over and over and other coercive measures to prevent this from happening.

Exposure exercises can be used to test people’s actual level of responsibility for events during treatment.

Overestimate the consequences

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder often think that once they encounter danger, they will be at a loss, unable to cope with it, or go crazy. They may also think that encountering danger always heralds catastrophic results, such as losing everything and ending up on the streets.

For example, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder may be afraid of rejection in a relationship, because rejection automatically means that a person will become depressed and eventually become homeless.

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This irrational belief underestimates the real possibility that the obsessive-compulsive disorder may be able to fully cope with the situation, the family will be there to provide support, and that ending the relationship may be a chance to start again.

Need for certainty

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, unrealistic demands for certainty are common even in situations where certainty is impossible. This need for certainty can lead to asking family members, therapists, and many others for excessive assurance to avoid feeling anxious.

Excessive seeking of comfort is a form of avoidance that only reinforces anxious thoughts. Likewise, it may cause loved ones to withdraw their support because they are overwhelmed by trying to provide comfort.

Emotional discomfort intolerance

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder usually think that if they experience strong negative emotions, they will make themselves embarrassed or go crazy. It is believed that coercion and excessive seeking of comfort from others are usually to avoid having to experience negative emotions.