What is Real Event OCD? (+7 Methods of treatment)

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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

The current detailed post will be examining what is Real Event OCD and what types of situations can cause this. We will also be going through the symptoms of Real Event OCD and the possible treatments available for this today.

What is Real Event OCD?

Real Event OCD is a type or more particularly a subtype of OCD where the person has many obsessive thoughts over a particular event that has actually happened in real-life. Due to these events, they might even show certain compulsive behaviors and rituals.

While some people say that Real Event OCD needs to be a separate diagnosis due to its particularly specific causes, it is now commonly understood by health professionals everywhere that this condition is just a subtype of OCD.

Causes of Real Event OCD

Real Event OCD often surrounds a particular situation or a particular event that has happened before in the person’s life. The situations and events which can trigger off Real Event OCD in people can be different, and some examples are,

  • Physically abusing a sibling when you were growing up
  • Cheating on your partner
  • Bullying another child at school when you were a kid
  • Abusing your parents through bad language at home
  • Hitting your child for disciplinary reasons
  • Hurting a close friend

As it can be seen, most of the situations that trigger off Real Event OCD surround guilt for doing something wrong. Even if the thing has been forgiven by the other party, the person with Real Event OCD will keep obsessing over those thoughts and feelings.

Apart from these causes, some other possible reasons for a person developing Real Event OCD are:

  • Strong genetics of mental illness in the family
  • Familial history of OCD
  • Personality of the person
  • Chronic stress
  • Sudden emotional trauma
  • Brain injuries
  • No possible explanation at all

Symptoms of Real Event OCD

Many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around Real Event OCD since this subtype may have different types of symptoms. At the same time, many people can also mistake it for constant worrying. The major symptoms of Real Event OCD are:

Constant rumination over that particular event

The main symptom of Real Event OCD is that the person might constantly think about the situation that has triggered off the symptoms. The thoughts can revolve around many aspects of the situation, particularly the person’s own actions.

Constant feelings of guilt over their actions

Since guilt is also often the main accompanying feeling when it comes to Real Event OCD, this feeling is another main symptom of the condition. The person may constantly feel guilty about the way they handled the situation and think about what they could have done better.

Worrying about the impact of their actions

Those who are experiencing Real Event OCD might also constantly worry about how their actions in that particular situation might impact the others involved. They might worry that they have permanently damaged the other person because of their actions.

Asking others for their opinions on the manner

They might not just worry about that particular event themselves, but they might even continuously ask other people for their opinions as well. In several cases, they might even hop from therapist to therapist to find more answers to their questions.

Apologizing for your behavior

Another symptom or sign of Real Event OCD is constantly apologizing for their mistakes or their actions to the other party who is involved. The apologizing may pretty excessive, almost to the point that the other person may start to feel agitated or disturbed.

Doing immense research about the situation

Apart from worrying about the situation and asking others for their opinions, they might also do a lot of research about how they might have impacted the other person. This can mean research online, through journals, through self-help books and such.

Creating rituals for cleansing or purification

In severe cases, they might also start certain rituals or behaviors to feel better and to turn over a new leaf. They might also start certain behaviors to prevent doing the same thing again or to even make up for the mistake they have done in the past.

Treatments for Real Event OCD

The treatment for Real Event OCD falls more or less on the same lines as OCD. However, there might be a few adjustments to match the specific signs and symptoms of Real Event OCD. The different available treatments which are available for Real Event OCD are:

Through medication

The most recommended treatment for any type of OCD, including Real Event OCD is through medication. The medications mostly target the levels of serotonin in the blood which is responsible for mood stability.

Through psychotherapy

Various forms of psychotherapy can also help those who are dealing with Real Event OCD. Psychotherapy can make the person become more aware of the actual causes for their constant obsessive thoughts and teach them coping strategies to navigate around them.

Forms of psychotherapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy can help the person reframe their thoughts so that they learn to replace irrational fears with more rational thoughts.

Through a healthy diet

A healthy diet can also do wonders for the mind and therefore small lifestyle changes like ensuring a balanced diet can help those who are dealing with Real Event OCD. Along with foods, the right supplements can also be taken for better effect.

Healthy diets can be difficult to adopt especially if the person has become used to a certain unhealthy lifestyle. In this case, a consultation with a nutritionist can really be helpful. Getting a diet-buddy can also help the person.

Through lifestyle changes

Other lifestyle changes can also immensely help those who are dealing with Real Event OCD on a daily basis. These lifestyle changes include changing jobs for a more stress-free one or even including sleep hygiene for better quality of sleep at night.

Apart from sleep hygiene, even other small changes like hanging out with new friends and investing in relationships can do more wonders for a person who is dealing with Real Event OCD due to something in the past.

Through mindfulness activities

Certain mindfulness activities can also help those who are struggling with Real Event OCD since it brings their thoughts to the present rather than making them worry about the past or the future. Mindfulness activities can include deep breathing, meditation and even therapeutic coloring.

If the person is hesitant to do these activities by themselves, they can also take the company of their partners or their friends for support and motivation. Mindfulness can also further help in relaxation which can further improve the quality of sleep.

Through creative outlets

Taking part in the creative process can also be a great outlet for anyone who is dealing with Real Event OCD. Activities like painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument or singing can give the person an opportunity to let go of their worries in a healthy and positive manner.

Through support groups

There are also many support groups for Real Event OCD that can help anyone with this condition. These support groups can be found physically as well as online and are often great resources for learning more about the condition and also for learning new coping skills.

Conclusion

The current detailed post has examined what is Real Event OCD and what types of situations can cause this. We have also gone through the symptoms of Real Event OCD and the possible treatments available for this today.

If you like this post, please leave your comments and questions in the space below.

Citations

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/da.20792
https://medium.com/invisible-illness/what-you-definitely-do-deserve-when-ocd-attacks-your-past-7fa9a08e3ccc
https://www.treatmyocd.com/education/different-types-of-ocd
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181902/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354438
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9490-obsessive-compulsive-disorder
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/understanding-obsessive-compulsive-disorder-treatment
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/treatment/
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/treatments-for-ocd