Emotional OCD: All About This Type of OCD

Emotional OCD: All About This Type of OCD

It’s no secret that OCD can be a tough disease to live with. From intrusive thoughts to excessive cleaning, it can be exhausting and frustrating. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who are willing to seek help. In this blog post, we will explore emotional OCD and how it differs from the more common forms of OCD. We will also discuss some of the symptoms and how to deal with them. Finally, we will offer some advice for those who are struggling with emotional OCD.

What is Emotional OCD?

What is Emotional OCD?

Emotional OCD is a type of OCD that involves obsessions and compulsions related to emotions. People with emotional OCD may have an overwhelming sense of anxiety or fear when they think about certain emotions, such as happiness, sadness, love, or fear. They may also experience intense negative thoughts related to these emotions, such as doubting whether they are truly happy or sad, feeling like they can’t let themselves feel any of these emotions, or fearing that others will judge them based on how they feel.

People with emotional OCD often struggle to control their thoughts and feelings around these emotions. This can lead to significant distress and difficulties in everyday life. For example, people with emotional OCD may find it difficult to make friends because they worry about how others will react if they show any emotion other than happiness. They may also find it difficult to pursue activities that are important to them because they worry about making mistakes or being judged negatively.

Warning Signs of Emotional OCD

Some of the warning signs of emotional OCD that one should watch out for include:

  • Intrusive, obsessive thoughts about the past, present, or future.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by certain emotions and having difficulty regulating them.
  • Unable to let go of perceived wrongs or mistakes made in the past.
  • An irrational fear of making decisions, due to worry they may be wrong.
  • An exaggerated need for approval or recognition from others.
  • A preoccupation with seeking perfection in all aspects of life.
  • Inability to relax and enjoy activities due to fear of making errors or mistakes.
  • Excessive self-criticism and negative thoughts that are difficult to shake off.
  • Anxiety and fear arise when faced with uncertainty or the unknown.
  • Feeling like one must be in control of all aspects of their life.
  • Inability to accept criticism, as they feel it is a sign of failure or imperfection.
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness when faced with difficult situations.
  • Avoidance behaviors that lead to isolation and loneliness due to fear of judgment.
  • Unable to recognize and express their own emotions, as well as those of others.

Causes and Origins of Emotional OCD

Causes and Origins of Emotional OCD

There is no single answer to the question of what causes emotional OCD. However, some common factors may contribute to the development of this type of OCD.

  • One important factor is a history of childhood trauma or abuse. Abusers often use guilt and fear to control their victims, and victims of emotional abuse may develop obsessive thoughts and rituals as a way to cope with their traumatic experiences.
  • Another likely cause of emotional OCD is a problem with the way emotions are processed in the brain. Some people have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can lead to intense and repetitive obsessions about certain topics or objects.
  • Still another possible cause is a genetic predisposition. Some people are more prone than others to develop OCD symptoms, and some family members may also suffer from this disorder. These also appear to be more common in people with certain other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Finally, emotional OCD can also be triggered by stress or life changes. Stressful events can sometimes cause a person’s obsessions to become more intense or frequent, and similarly, major life changes (such as moving to a new city or starting a new job) can also cause an increase in OCD symptoms.

Regardless of the root cause, it’s important to understand that emotional OCD is treatable and many people can find relief through therapy, medication, or both.

Treatment Options for Emotional OCD

Treatment Options for Emotional OCD

There are many treatment options available for people with emotional OCD. These treatment methods may have varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the individual and should be discussed with a mental health professional.

Some of these are:


One of the most common treatments for emotional OCD is therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) are two popular forms of treatment that focus on helping individuals recognize their obsessive thoughts and to learn how to respond differently to them. These therapies may also help individuals better manage the stress associated with these intrusive thoughts, allowing them to move forward in life.

Some other therapy options are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).


In some cases, medication may also be recommended to help manage the symptoms of emotional OCD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed medications for treating OCD. While these medications can provide relief from intrusive thoughts and anxiety, they may take several weeks before an individual starts to see the full effects.

Other medications may also be prescribed as needed, such as anti-anxiety medications or antipsychotics. It is important to consult with a doctor before taking any medication and discuss any potential risks or side effects.

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can also help manage symptoms of emotional OCD. Exercise and physical activity can be extremely beneficial, as it helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Healthy eating habits can also help individuals feel more balanced throughout the day. Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation may help reduce symptoms of emotional OCD.

Maybe most importantly, it is crucial to get enough sleep every night. Proper rest helps the body and mind recover from stress and anxiety, allowing a person to feel more refreshed during the day.

What Happens When Emotional OCD Is Left Untreated?

When there are no treatments or coping strategies in place, emotional OCD can wreak havoc on a person’s life. The obsessions and compulsions can become so severe that they take up most of the individual’s day, preventing them from living their life to the fullest.

These can lead up to many effects:

Low-self esteem: When a person’s daily life is filled with obsessions and compulsions, they may feel as though they are unable to control their thoughts or actions. This can lead to feeling inadequate and having a poor self-image.

Isolation: When someone is struggling with their emotions, it can be difficult for them to connect with others. As a result, they may avoid social situations or even withdraw completely from social activities.

Depression: When someone is unable to control their emotions and thoughts, it can lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness which can affect their day-to-day life.

Anxiety: The constant worrying that comes with emotional OCD can cause a person to feel anxious and overwhelmed in their daily life. Some people may even develop panic attacks as a result of their anxiety.

It is important to note that emotional OCD can be managed and treated with the right strategies and help. If you or someone you know is struggling with emotional OCD, it is important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.


OCD can be a very debilitating mental illness that can have a serious impact on an individual’s life. It is important to remember that not all sufferers experience the same symptoms and that there are many ways to overcome OCD. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional OCD, it is important to talk to a doctor or therapist to get the help and support they need.

There are also support groups available for those with OCD, which provide a safe place to discuss your struggles and concerns with others who understand what you are going through.

For more information and guidance, please contact MantraCare. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding Online OCD Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session now. 

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