Why Do OCD Thoughts Feel So Real?

Please note:  The information on this page should not be construed as medical advice, nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any condition. The content on this page is written by recovered OCD sufferers, not by clinicians. Read More

Why Do OCD Thoughts Feel So Real? The Reality of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Do you feel like your OCD thoughts can be an actual reality? For people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD thoughts can feel incredibly real. This blog post will discuss why OCD thoughts can feel so real and how to deal with them.

What are OCD and Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, involuntary thoughts that get stuck in your head. The thoughts may seem irrational or have no basis in reality, but they still cause distress, making them hard to ignore. If this sounds like something you experience, you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Why Do OCD Thoughts Feel So Real?

There are a few reasons why intrusive thoughts can feel so real. First, your faulty belief system plays a massive role in how real your OCD feels. When you have a false belief system, it’s harder to see the thoughts as just thoughts.

For example, if you believe that having bad thoughts means something about your character or indicates that you’ll act on them in real life (which isn’t true), then those intrusive thoughts will feel more like a reality.

OCD thoughts often trigger strong emotions because they play on your fears and worries. When the thoughts are paired with intense emotions, it’s no wonder that they can feel so real.

Another reason why OCD can feel so real is that they are very vivid. These thoughts usually have a lot of details, which makes them seem more realistic and believable. And if you have OCD, the thoughts will be repetitive and persistent, which further reinforces their reality in your mind.

One significant factor that makes OCD feel real is your compulsion to get rid of it; compulsion will only make OCD stronger because compulsions are a form of avoidance, which means that you’re not dealing with the thoughts head-on.

It only makes the thoughts stronger and can lead to an OCD cycle of avoidance, which will make it feel like your obsessive-compulsive disorder is more real than ever.

How Do You Deal With Intrusive OCD thoughts?

Dealing with intrusive OCD thoughts can be challenging, but breaking free from the OCD cycle is possible. 

With Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), you can learn how to challenge your intrusive thoughts, and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) can help you to face your fears (obsessions). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is my favorite. It helped me accept intrusive thoughts and not bother me as much.

The key is to face the thoughts head-on and resist the urge to do compulsions. This may be difficult initially, but it will get easier with practice.

To face the thoughts, you need to understand that they are not real. The thoughts may be distressing, but they’re just thoughts, and treating them as such is the first step toward recovery.

Tips for managing intrusive OCD thoughts:

Try not to suppress the thought

While you may want to avoid your intrusive thoughts at all costs, this isn’t always a good idea. If you try too hard to suppress the thought, it will only strengthen it. Instead, try acknowledging or observing the thought without reacting to it.

Accept that these thoughts happen

Intrusive OCD thoughts are symptoms of an underlying condition and not something you control. So instead of trying to get rid of them, except that they’re part of your life.

Distract yourself from the thought

 If you get caught up in an intrusive thought, try to distract yourself with another activity such as reading a book or going for a walk. This will help you stay focused on the present instead of worrying about what may happen in the future.

Keep your mind and body healthy

Taking care of your body can also help manage intrusive thoughts. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. These things will help you feel good mentally and physically, making it easier to manage your intrusive thoughts.

Reach out for help 

Managing intrusive OCD thoughts can be challenging, but you don’t have to go through this alone. If you need additional support, consider talking with a therapist. You may also want to join an online community and speak with other people who understand what it’s like living with OCD to feel less alone during this time. You are welcome to join our OCD community by clicking on the link.

Final thought on why OCD thought feels so real

Intrusive OCD thoughts can be distressing, but there are ways to manage them. By accepting that these thoughts happen and doing your best not to react or entertain them, you’ll find it more manageable over time not to engage with the intrusive thought at all. 

And remember, these thoughts aren’t real! They may feel like it now, but you can break free from the OCD cycle with time and patience.

If you’re struggling with intrusive OCD thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to you, and there is no shame in seeking assistance. Recovery is possible, and you can get through this difficult time.

Read more about intrusive thought and why OCD feels so real – a few helpful resources

  • Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders – you can run but you can’t hide: Intrusive thoughts

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