We may all get harm thoughts, whether we have OCD or not. When I hold a baby and walk to a balcony, I hold the baby closer and tighter. Because I may have had a thought that I may accidentally drop the baby. When I hold a screwdriver, and I have my pet around me, I may get the thought of hurting my pet with it. But having harm intrusive thoughts does not mean I have Harm OCD. Along with harm intrusive thoughts, there are a few other markers that would indicate if Harm OCD is present.
Before we look at the warning signs of Harm OCD, here’s a word of caution – unless you are clinically diagnosed by a professional, self-diagnosing and assuming that you have Harm OCD may not be the right thing to do. You may have Harm OCD, you may have Harm OCD plus something else, you may have something else altogether or you may have nothing. Practicing what is laid out here will not harm you, but practicing it incorrectly may. Hence, for your own wellbeing, make sure that you are diagnosed by a professional. To figure out if you may have Harm OCD, Dr. Jordan Levy of NYC compiled a set of thirteen signs for Harm OCD. I have added three more signs that I found missing from that list and the same are provided in Worksheet 1.8. Do fill it up to determine if you could have Harm OCD.
If you answer most of these questions in the affirmative, and if you feel distressed with these questions, there is a chance that you may have Harm OCD. For example, if you are being mistreated and you want to retaliate but instead of feeling angry you feel anxious to the point of dysfunctionality because you think you may snap and become violent towards the person who is mistreating you, it may be an indication that you may have Harm OCD. Let this be a preliminary assessment for you to get one step closer to confirming your diagnosis.