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OCD?

Question:

Lately I have been having unwanted intrusive thoughts and urges about harming my children. These thoughts cause me severe anxiety and fear. I have read about my symptoms and I have done to a lot of Internet searches that suggest I have an anxiety disorder such as OCD. I know my thoughts are stupid and I don’t want to cause harm to them at all. I have always been a loving mother. I usually always feared my children getting sick or worse. I have always had fears of contamination and illness. I now lately have been constantly checking to make sure I’m not crazy and becoming another Andrea Yates because of these unwanted thoughts and urges. I hate even saying the word "urge" because it makes me feel panic. I start to freak out as to why I am having urges if that’s even what they are. Or are they just a reaction to the anxiety from the thoughts?

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Answer:

It is always impossible for us to give a diagnosis over the Internet because we do not know the people writing to us. However, I can try to suggest some possibilities. Nevertheless, you need to see a Clinical Psychologist or Licensed Clinical Social Worker to do a psychiatric interview and provide you with a real diagnosis and suggested treatment. So, here we go:

It does appear that you might have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The fact that these thoughts are intrusive and unwanted and that they are "stupid" to you lends strong evidence to the idea of OCD.

OCD is an anxiety disorder. You describe the fact that you have always been an anxious woman because you always worried about your children becoming "contaminated" with something terrible. Yes, that points towards strong anxiety. I want to add to that.

In addition to anxiety, I suspect (educated guess) that you could also be feeling depressed. Of course, anxiety and depression often go together and even reinforce one another.

Because you are horrified by these thoughts and "urges" I doubt that you would ever harm your children. Of course, I have no way of knowing for sure and there is a lot I do not know about you. For example, if you drink a lot of alcohol and/or use illegal drugs you or anybody could become impulsive enough to cause damage.

What I believe you should do is see a psychologist or social worker, get a diagnosis and then decide with the therapist what steps you would like to take to help yourself. If we are correct and you do have OCD then you could enter Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to learn healthier ways to think and feel. CBT works well with anxiety and depression. I believe you should do this so that you no longer feel miserable. Feeling better might allow you to enjoy your children a lot more as well as your entire life.

Best of Luck

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