It is common for people to have thoughts of extreme aggression and harm as a result of obsessions. The examples would include thoughts of jumping in front of an oncoming vehicle or killing another person or abusing a child etc. When such mental images occur offhandedly, most people just dismiss it as a passing thought or even unimportant. They may never even experience a case of anxiety or guilt after the obsessive/harmful image or thought. In fact, these people do not feel any need to undergo any kind of rituals to prevent self harm or harm to the ones they love or even a stranger, says an article published in Mind.
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However, the individuals who report clinically diagnosed OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder take these obsessive thoughts very seriously, thus initiating a sense of emotional distress. These anxious feelings make one feel naturally inclined to stop these annoying, repetitive, useless thoughts or compulsions. Those suffering from OCD feel that these rituals are necessary to alleviate their anxiety and prevent harm to self or others. The ritualistic behavior that stems from the diagnosis of OCD are related to a particular type of obsession. For instance, the one who is obsessed about cleanliness is in reality fearful of impurity and thus performs the rituals of cleaning and washing to mitigate their anxiety, according to Nevada Appeal.
After experiencing this emotional distress, the individual makes an overstated calculation regarding the future events that will take a catastrophic shape which the person believes can only be prevented if they engaged in the ritual again and again. If the ritual is not performed perfectly, the person feels directly responsible for any catastrophe as a result, reports Nevada Appeal.