Existential OCD: Definition, Signs and Remedy

Obsessive Compulsive Dysfunction (TOC) is marked by repetitive, undesirable ideas and compulsive rituals meant to alleviate nervousness.

Every particular person with OCD experiences it in a singular method.

Typically OCD signs can embody obsessive philosophical concepts and fears about life, the universe, and human existence. That is referred to as existential OCD.

This text discusses the signs and remedy of existential OCD.

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What’s existential OCD?

Existential signs of OCD happen when repetitive and intrusive ideas concerning the objective of human existence trigger signs of hysteria, melancholy, and compulsive conduct.

These ideas may embody:

  • Query the aim of life
  • Dying nervousness (worry of 1’s personal dying or the dying course of)
  • I’m wondering what’s actual and what’s not
  • Feeling a way of impending doom

An individual with existential signs of OCD can also refuse to tolerate uncertainty about questions that can not be answered.

Existential OCD vs. Philosophical Questions

Everybody asks philosophical questions concerning the which means of life. These questions may embody “Why are we right here?” or “The place can we go after we die?” However with the signs of existential OCD, these ideas can flip into obsessions that intervene with every day life. They’ll lead an individual to compulsive rituals, akin to:

  • Consistently search validation of 1’s path
  • Obsessive about philosophical concepts (like the character of actuality and the universe) for hours a day

When dwelling on philosophical questions causes signs of the Depression, anxietyand compulsive conduct, an individual might endure from existential signs of OCD.

Indicators and Signs of Existential OCD

Signs of existential OCD can embody:

  • Obsessively fascinated about objective
  • Derealization or feeling that the world will not be actual
  • Refuse to tolerate uncertainty
  • Feeling depressed and anxious due to repetitive ideas about life and dying
  • searching for consolation, or continually double-checking selections with others for worry of going the incorrect method
  • Not being able to cause or apply logic to philosophical ideas or questions
  • Discovering your personal solutions to philosophical questions, however then doubting these solutions

Frequent Obsessions

These with existential OCD may obsess over:

  • The aim of dwelling
  • The inevitability of dying
  • Whether or not they’re on the correct path in a non secular or philosophical sense
  • The character of actuality and the universe
  • Whether or not they exist or not

Frequent compulsions

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that individuals with OCD might have interaction in to alleviate their nervousness. Typically these compulsions can intervene with every day life. Within the case of existential signs of OCD, they will embody:

  • Consistently analysis philosophical questions with out being affected by logic or the concepts of others
  • Reflecting on one’s existence and actuality for hours, neglecting on a regular basis life
  • Consistently asking others for reassurance that you’re on the “proper” path
  • Doubt any logical conclusion

How is existential OCD handled

Remedy for existential signs of OCD might embody remedy or remedy. Listed below are the methods a specialist may strategy the dysfunction.

Cognitive-behavioral remedy

Cognitive-behavioral remedy (CCT) is a type of psychotherapy (speak remedy) that focuses on ideas that result in unhelpful conduct. These ideas are challenged with the assistance of a therapist after which changed with extra favorable concepts. CBT additionally consists of studying to handle feelings and reactions to on a regular basis life.

For instance, a CBT session might embody workouts akin to role-playing or analyzing an individual’s bigger perception methods and serving to to find out if they’re useful.

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) and mindfulness are two CBT methods suggested for existential OCD.

Prevention of publicity and response

Publicity and Response Prevention (ERP) is a type of therapy through which an individual is repeatedly uncovered to ideas and concepts that frighten them so as to develop their tolerance. ERP might embody a therapist’s homework assignments, akin to researching existential questions, listening to recordings of the therapist, and watching movies on the subject.

ERP additionally consists of experiencing the feelings and anxieties created by ideas and studying to handle these with out responding to them. ERP in somebody with existential OCD might imply not asking others for reassurance and as an alternative sitting with their doubts about actuality, no matter nervousness it would trigger, or Give Manner.

Apply mindfulness

Mindfulness may be taught as a complementary calming ability (added as a complement) however will not be essentially a remedy.

Mindfulness is about changing into conscious of your emotional reactions with out judgment. This could result in accepting passing ideas and “using the wave” of feelings they trigger with out participating in compulsive conduct.

Over time, an intrusive thought turns into much less essential and simpler to handle. With the existential signs of OCD, mindfulness can imply feeling nervousness or worry about bigger life and dying points with out appearing on them or fearing the feelings they bring about on.


Signs of existential obsessive-compulsive dysfunction (OCD) are marked by repetitive and intrusive ideas about philosophical points, such because the which means of existence, the character of actuality, and concepts about life and dying.

A phrase from Verywell

Everybody contemplated a very powerful questions on life, dying and the universe. Nevertheless, when these ideas change into obsessions which you could’t appear to flee, they will take a toll in your psychological well being and well-being.

If you end up ruminating on life’s most necessary points to the purpose of melancholy, nervousness, and disruptions in work and relationships, existential OCD would be the trigger. If you cannot discover a therapist in your space or do not have entry to remedy, discovering assist on-line or a neighborhood OCD help group may also help you cope.

Incessantly Requested Questions

  • Can OCD set off depersonalization?

    Analysis means that OCD can set off depersonalization, through which an individual appears like they’re unreal or do not exist. This can be as a result of folks with OCD might have intense, intrusive ideas about what may or won’t be attainable. Consistently repeating these ideas could cause inferential confusion, which is whenever you fail to accurately interpret actuality and confuse actuality with risk.

  • What’s the anguish of dying?

    Dying nervousness is a worry of dying attributable to recollections or ideas about dying. Existential OCD can create an obsession and worry of dying that interferes with every day life. Dying nervousness can really feel like a way of impending doom for the long run, which may trigger nervousness in folks dwelling with existential OCD.

  • How are you aware you’re going via an existential disaster?

    An existential disaster happens when an individual questions the explanation for his existence with the query “Who am I?” This disaster could cause nervousness concerning the objective of life, dying, and the character of actuality. An existential disaster may encourage worry and panic about id and the long run. The kind of existential disaster an individual experiences can rely on their age. An adolescent might marvel who he’s, whereas an grownup might fear concerning the which means of his life and his dying.

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