Why does the subject of my obsessions change?

ipitia blog ocd obsessions change

‘‘I don’t identify with a specific kind of OCD’

There are many ways in which the obsessions of a person with OCD can take shape. This is why there are many different types of OCD such as HOCD, cleaning OCD, Jealousy OCD, Relationship OCD, Fear of hurting somebody, Religious OCD, Pedophilia OCD and False Memory OCD for example. You can learn more about all these different kinds of OCD in our page on types of OCD.

Most of these kinds of OCD are not commonly known in our society, but yet are shared by a significant percentage of people who suffer from OCD.

However, there are M

Why does the subject of obsessions change in OCD?

In OCD, fear is the emotional motor of anxiety, which expresses itself through obsessive, recurring thoughts which the person tries to evade through avoidance, rituals and trying to control the situation. This helps them to temporarily find alleviation of the symptoms, but on the long run worsen them.

Fear has one fundamental and basic function: survival. It is the emotion that helps us act according to our instinct in dangerous situations and adapt.

The problem appears when fear becomes dysfunctional and makes life more difficult as opposed to being more adapted. This happens when fear becomes neurotic and is not in proportion to or not related to any danger at all.

Fear can be caused by various causes that result in a blockage or inhibition of our instincts: a strict education with little liberty to decide or act, traumatic experiences, or being exposed to a continuous heightened level of stress, which doesn’t allow the person to develop according to their true nature.

If we know how a specific obsessive disorder has developed and what caused it, more often than not we will understand the subject of the obsessions and changes thereof. You can learn more about this in the article on how we understand OCD at IPITIA.

When a person tends to develop obsessions of which the subject varies among themes that share no similarities amongst them, the person is usually affected by various internal conflicts that block different kinds of drives of instinctive behavior.

This can also happen when the disorder becomes chronic (which does not mean incurable red.), due to no or unsatisfactory treatment. In this case the person slowly becomes less adapted over time and loses their life skills as the disorder advances.

This is due to the fact that many therapies focus on OCD and its consequences. They try to control the symptoms and to reduce them through exposure with the goal of learning how to live with OCD. The risk of this is that you’re not working on the underlying causes that are maintaining the disorder. What you see then is that some of the obsessions or compulsions reduce (temporarily) but get replaced by others over time.

Though there is another possibility when the kind of obsession changes. In this case the obsessive thoughts are different but follow a certain thematic. This usually happens when the obsessive thoughts were caused by the same antecedent, but they evolve according to the evolution and development of the person and the OCD itself.

An example of this could be a person who has obsessive thoughts that center around sexuality. First of all they are afraid of engaging in sexual behavior with child (Pedophilia OCD; there is no real attraction or wish to engage in this kind of behavior, just fear), then they become afraid of being homosexual and afterwards of hurting somebody.

Another example is a person who suffers from Jealousy OCD. In many occasions the fear of the partner cheating or leaving them causes them to develop obsessions about STD’s as well. Since they perceive their obsessions in such a way that they seem completely real to them, they start to think that they could also have a sexually transmitted disease, which then in turn grows into the next obsession and so on.

Another possibility is that a person suffers from obsessions related to self-destruction, passing through obsessions around the theme of illnesses, danger, death, being maltreated or laughed at.

What we also see in therapy processes is that as the person progresses and regains their self-esteem the obsessive thoughts stop being centered around the person itself and focus on other people. For example I’m not at risk of dying but my family is.

In all these cases it is very important to do an exhaustive analysis of the person, involving a complete anamnesis, personal history, the present situation and the obsessions and psyche of the person. This helps us to build a personalized treatment plan in which we start to uncover, or work with the healthy parts of the person and to reverse damage caused by early traumatic or stressful experiences.

How to cure OCD

The first step of curing OCD is to start an analytic process which allows us to understand what happened in the life of the person that caused them to have obsessions.

In this process we analyze what the person’s true personality is like, what their archetype is and whether or not their current life is aligned with it. We see if there have been traumas or stressful experiences, and do a profound anamnesis of the life trajectory of the person.

Once the analysis is completed, we start working on freeing those parts of the personality that have become inhibited or blocked, until we recover an authentic identity that the person feels comfortable and natural with,

In a way we have to make up for the person’s life trajectory, the lack of attachment, the dependence, the destructed self-esteem, and create an opening in the rigid mechanisms the psyche has used to survive but are actually in conflict with the personality and nature of the person. In order to reach this it is important to gain knowledge about the conscious and rational part of the psyche as well as the unconscious drives and nature. Our goal is to help the person to become conscious of their blocked drives and needs and prepare them to step back into their life.

If you would like to learn more about OCD or if you want to schedule a first session you can call us at: + 34 935 282 353 or write to info@ipitia.com.

Sergio Lara

Clinical Psychologist