Lauren Pellizzi LLC

Specialized Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety Therapy Red Bank

Areas of Specialty

Harm OCD

What is Harm OCD?

​​​OCD can cause unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that can cause a person to develop compulsive behaviors in order to cope with and neutralize the anxiety caused by their distressing thoughts. Harm OCD is a type of OCD that causes a person to have doubts and fears about whether they are in control of themselves and if they could become violent towards themselves or others.  A typical symptom of Harm OCD is the fear of hurting oneself or one’s loved ones. Those suffering from Harm OCD experience intrusive thoughts or mental imagery of violence towards themselves or others. These obsessional thoughts create incredible distress and leave someone suffering from Harm OCD doubting whether or not they want to act out these violent thoughts they are having. As a result, individuals suffering from Harm OCD will usually leave the situation or avoid the person or situation that triggers these thoughts. This avoidance becomes a coping mechanism that the person believes is necessary to keep themselves and others safe. Unfortunately, this avoidance, as a compulsion, strengthens and reinforces the vicious cycle of OCD.


​Common Obsessions in Harm OCD

  • Fear that one day they will snap and hurt a loved one or themselves
  • Fear of committing a violent act
  • Fear of giving into a violent urge
  • Fear of committing an impulse like stabbing or killing someone
  • Fear of commit suicide before hurting someone
  • Fear that one day they’ll go unconscious and cause harm without even knowing


Common Compulsions in Harm OCD

  • Compulsively checking yourself and others to ensure you didn’t hurt anyone
  • Avoiding people or situations that may trigger your obsessions
  • Asking others to ensure that you did not perform any harm
  • Mentally reviewing your memories to ensure you did not hurt anyone
  • Avoiding knives, pens, or other sharp objects that could be used to hurt someone


People suffering from Harm OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD.  OCD specialists are equipped and prepared to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including Harm OCD . Like all types of OCD, Harm OCD can be treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP)Contact Lauren Pellizzi to start treatment.