Suicidal OCD: What You Need to Know

Suicidal OCD: What You Need to Know

Did you know that OCD can lead to suicidal thoughts? This is something that many people don’t realize. In this blog post, we will discuss what suicidal OCD is, and the signs and symptoms that you need to be aware of. We will also talk about treatment options and how to get help. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal OCD, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help!

What Is Suicidal OCD?

What Is Suicidal OCD?Suicidal OCD is a type of OCD in which individuals are consumed with intrusive thoughts about harming or killing themselves. It is important to note that people with suicidal OCD do not actually want to die. But rather are plagued by persistent and distressing thoughts about self-harm. This subtype of OCD is also related to harm OCD, in which individuals obsess about harming others.

Suicidal OCD can be extremely debilitating, as it can make it difficult for individuals to participate in activities they enjoy or even leave the house. The fear of harming oneself can also be all-consuming, making it hard to focus on anything else. In fact, this condition of OCD is driven by the fear of harming oneself, rather than a desire to die.

In OCD, intrusive thoughts are usually accompanied by compulsions, which are behaviors or mental rituals that individuals use to try to reduce their anxiety. For example, someone with suicidal OCD may have the compulsion to avoid anything that could trigger their thoughts about harming themselves. This might mean avoiding knives, heights, or certain people or places.

Compulsions can also take the form of mental rituals, such as repeating certain phrases or numbers over and over again. People with suicidal OCD may also engage in excessive reassurance-seeking. That means they constantly seek out assurances from others that they will not harm themselves.

Examples Of Intrusive Thoughts In Suicidal OCD

There are numerous examples of intrusive thoughts in suicidal OCD, but they all share a common theme: the person with OCD is fixated on the idea of death or self-harm to such an extent that it causes them intense anxiety and distress. The following are some examples of compulsions in suicidal OCD:

Seeking reassurance

It is the foremost compulsion in suicidal OCD. The person with OCD seeks reassurance from others about their safety constantly. They may also seek reassurance by looking up information on the internet or talking to mental health professionals. For example, they may ask “what are the chances of me actually harming myself?” or “what are the chances of me dying by suicide?”

Mental compulsions

The person with suicidal OCD may try to neutralize their thoughts. By thinking of happy things, praying, or doing anything that would make them feel better. This also refers to mentally reviewing their plans for suicide over and over again to make sure they are “perfect”. They may try to answer like, “How likely it is that I will act on these thoughts” or “What is the probability that these thoughts will come true?”

Checking and rechecking

The person with suicidal OCD may check on their safety constantly. For example, they may check to make sure all knives are put away and out of reach. Or they may check the locks on the doors to make sure no one can get in. They may also avoid situations where they could potentially harm themselves, such as not going near bridges or tall buildings.

Safety behaviors

People with suicidal OCD may engage in safety behaviors to try to prevent themselves from harming themselves. For example, they may keep a list of emergency contacts close by at all times, or they may wear a rubber band around their wrist that they snap when they have intrusive thoughts.

Avoidance and comparison

Avoidance and comparisonIn suicidal OCD, people may avoid anything that reminds them of death or self-harm. This includes avoiding people who are suicidal, places where suicides have occurred, and anything else that triggers their intrusive thoughts. They may also compare themselves to others to try to reassure themselves that they are not at risk for suicide. For example, they may think “I’m not like those other people who have killed themselves, so I must be safe”.

Intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of OCD, but they can also occur in other mental disorders. Such as anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, in OCD, the intrusive thoughts are accompanied by compulsions (behaviors or mental rituals) that the person feels they must do to reduce their anxiety.

What Are The Symptoms Of Suicidal OCD?

There are many symptoms of suicidal OCD that can be difficult to identify. One of the most common is feeling like you are a burden to others. This may manifest as feeling like you are worthless or that everyone would be better off without you. Other symptoms can include:

  • Intrusive thoughts and images of hurting oneself
  • An urge to do harm to oneself
  • Preoccupation with death or dying
  • Making detailed plans for suicide
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Uncontrolled crying or sudden mood changes
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Fixating on a certain method of suicide
  • Increased alcohol or drug abuse.

These are some of the possible symptoms of suicidal OCD. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help immediately. Suicidal thoughts are not something to be taken lightly and should always be discussed with a doctor or mental health professional.

What Causes Suicidal OCD?

There is no one specific cause of suicidal OCD. However, there are several risk factors that may contribute to the development of this disorder. These include:

History of mental illness

The cause for the development of suicidal OCD is not fully understood. However, there are certain risk factors that may play a role in its development. A history of mental illness in the family, previous suicide attempts, exposure to violence, and substance abuse are some of the potential risk factors.

Suicide ideation is a common symptom of OCD. In fact, studies have shown that up to 80% of people with OCD have thoughts about suicide at some point during their illness. While these thoughts are often not acted upon, they can be extremely distressing and may lead to suicidal OCD. This also refers to genetics as people with certain genes are more likely to develop OCD.

Traumatic event

Traumatic eventThis is very common in individuals with suicidal OCD. A history of trauma, whether it be emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, can lead to the development of this disorder. This is because individuals who have experienced trauma are more likely to develop anxiety and depression, which are both risk factors for suicidal OCD.

These events can be really distressing, some of these include; the death of a loved one, relationship breakups, job loss, or any other major life event.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is also a common risk factor for suicidal OCD. This is because drugs and alcohol can change the way the brain functions. Which can lead to changes in mood and behavior. Substance abuse can also make it difficult to cope with stress, which can trigger OCD symptoms. In fact, studies have shown that people with OCD are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than those without OCD.

These are some of the possible causes that may contribute to the development of suicidal OCD. If you or someone you know is struggling with this disorder, it is important to seek professional help. There are many resources available to those who need them. With proper treatment, suicidal OCD can be managed and people can live full and productive lives.

What Are The Treatment Options For Suicidal OCD?

When it comes to treating suicidal OCD, there are a few different options. Such options are;


Therapies are usually the first line of treatment when it comes to OCD. This is because they can help you learn how to deal with your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. It is believed to be one of the most effective ways to treat OCD. There are various types of therapies as per the requirement of the patient. And, for the treatment of suicidal OCD, there are three most preferred therapies, such as;

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on helping you change the way you think about your OCD thoughts and behaviors. It is effective in treating suicidal OCD as it can help you manage your thoughts and emotions in a better way.
  • Exposure and response prevention therapy is another type of therapy that involves gradually exposing yourself to your fear triggers. While learning how to control your urge to engage in compulsive behaviors.
  • Family therapy is also an option that can help you deal with your OCD thoughts and behaviors. It can also help your family to understand your condition and how they can support you in your treatment.

Mantra Care is a widely preferred platform to get therapies from licensed mental health professionals. You can get in touch with professionals from anywhere in the globe, at your convenience. You can book your free consultation today for a better tomorrow.


MedicationIf you are not responding well to therapy or if your symptoms are severe, then your doctor may prescribe medication. It is often used in combination with therapy. The most common type of medication used to treat OCD is antidepressants. These can help to reduce the symptoms of OCD. Some examples of antidepressants that are commonly used to treat OCD include;

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. It is a chemical that helps to regulate mood.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) help to increase the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals are known to play a role in mood regulation.
  • Mood stabilizers are a type of medication that helps to stabilize your mood. They are often used to treat OCD in combination with other medications.
  • Anti-anxiety medications are also sometimes used to treat OCD. They can help to reduce the anxiety and stress that are associated with the condition.

These are some of the most common medications used for suicidal OCD. More often, it is seen that a combination of medication and therapy is effective in treating the condition.

Self-Help Techniques

This is commonly done in addition to therapy and medication. As the name suggests, self-help techniques are things you can do on your own to help yourself cope with your OCD thoughts and behaviors. Some examples of self-help techniques that can be helpful for suicidal OCD include;

  • Challenging your negative thoughts: This involves learning how to challenge the negative and distorted thoughts that are associated with OCD.
  • Stimulus control: This involves learning how to control your exposure to things that trigger your OCD thoughts and behaviors.
  • Relaxation techniques: These techniques are considered the best way to deal with anxiety and stress. This usually includes; mindfulness, yoga, meditation, breathing, etc.
  • Practicing a healthy routine: It is important to stick to a healthy routine when you are dealing with OCD. This can help you to feel more in control of your condition. This includes; getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying positive, etc.

There are many other self-help techniques that can be helpful for suicidal OCD. If you want to learn more about these, you can talk to your therapist or doctor.

You can also find helpful resources on the internet or in books. Mantra Care also has a blog where you can find helpful articles about various mental health conditions, including OCD.


To conclude, suicidal OCD is a serious mental health condition. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek professional help immediately. Moreover, the condition is often misunderstood and shrouded in stigma. So it is important to educate yourself and others about what it is and how it can be effectively treated.

Therefore, if you or somebody you know is displaying any of the above-mentioned symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Thanks for reading!

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