From Indonesia: I am sorry if my English is not that good. I’ve been diagnosed with pure Os for 10 years or so, and I’ve been drinking SSRIs for 2 years, which helped me a lot. Now my obsessions are lowered and there is only one kind of fear that buggers me a lot. I am afraid of being influenced by someone’s opinion, when that person doesn’t like the things that I like. I am afraid that by understanding her/his perspective, I’ll stop enjoying the things that I do enjoy. It works on some emotional level even when I understand how unreasonable is that fear of mine.

Also I am afraid of losing some of my abilities I value the most. For an example, there was a guy who told me that he is bad with remembering names of people and things. I am aware that it is a common thing and I know that there are environmental and natural causes that make many people bad with remembering things. Yet, I have become obsessed that I will get his perspective and I will stop remembering names. Even, I somehow get the feeling that it is wrong for me to remember names and I should stop doing it. I know my reasoning is flawed, yet I believe it on an emotional level.

Is there a way, to stop worrying about those things? Have you had similar cases and how did you manage to help them?

Thank you for writing. Let me see if I can help: Researchers have not yet discovered why some people develop obsessions. It likely has something to do with your neurology. But whatever the cause, it can be debilitating. It can interfere with a person’s social and occupational life. Like you, people with obsessions know the obsessions are irrational and want them to go away. But wanting them to go away is rarely enough.

Medication is often helpful. You said that SSRIs have reduced the number and intensity of your obsessions. For that reason, I do suggest that you return to your prescriber to talk about whether a change in dosage or a change in the type of SSRI would be helpful. It might also be advisable to augment the SSRI with another medication. Sometimes medication that has been working for a while becomes less effective. When that happens, a prescriber might consider another type of medication.

You didn’t mention therapy. I encourage you to consider adding therapy to your treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often effective in further reducing the unwanted and intrusive thoughts. The goal of CBT is to help a person change the way they think, feel, and behave.

It is unlikely that you will completely stop worrying about things. OCD is a chronic condition. But you can become more in charge of your thoughts and less stressed by them. I’ve had success with a number of clients who came to me after years of suffering. A combination of good medication monitoring and regular therapy helped them a great deal.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie