Real Event OCD: What Is It, And Who Can It Affect?

Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC

Published 06/24/2022

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a common mental health disorder or mental illness that impacts many people worldwide and is characterized by obsessions, compulsions, and other symptoms. Although Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is common, that doesn’t mean that it’s not severe. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is recognized as a disability by the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, and to be diagnosed with OCD, symptoms must impact your ability to function in areas of life, such as work, school, or social relationships, causes clinically significant distress, or symptoms must take up a significant amount of a person’s time (one hour per day or more). There are many stereotypes about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and most of the general public isn’t exposed to information about the different subtypes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and what they entail. If you’re reading this, you might wonder, what is real event OCD? In this blog post, we will go over real event OCD, what it entails, and how to get support for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

What Is Real Event OCD? 

Real event OCD is a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. A person living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder ruminates over a real event that occurred, typically one that they regret, with what feels like no avail. It’s common for people living with real event OCD to experience:

  • Intrusive thoughts and mental images related to a scenario or event. For example, someone may go over the event in their head repeatedly and experience intrusive thoughts about the event or how they feel about themselves as a result of it.
  • Worries about being immoral, a bad person, a liar, cruel in some way, or inauthentic.
  • Persistent and pervasive feelings of shame or guilt.
  • Compulsions such as reassurance seeking or feeling an impulse or urge to confess what they did.

As with other forms of OCD, someone might also experience intentional social isolation or withdrawal from others, feelings of anxiety, feelings of depression, and so on. OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions, and in the case of real event OCD, The obsessions and compulsions someone experiences are related to a real event. As for who it can impact, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can impact anyone. That includes real event OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder doesn’t discriminate, and it can impact people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.

What Is OCD Guilt?

Many people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder experience feelings of guilt. In fact, guilt is a potential symptom of the disorder. Symptoms of OCD may include but aren’t limited to repeating words, phrases, thoughts, or actions, feelings of guilt, feelings of anxiety, rumination, social isolation or withdrawal from others, intrusive thoughts, and more. There are many ways that people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may experience guilt, and how that manifests will vary from person to person. For example, many people living with a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder called harm OCD worry or feel guilt about the intrusive thoughts they experience, and people with Religious OCD may worry that they’ve done something that would have negative consequences related to religion. People with real event OCD may ruminate over specific events or feel guilt over past mistakes that they can’t seem to shake.

Can OCD Make You Think You’ve Done Something You Haven’t?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can certainly make you worry persistently that you have done something you haven’t, that you will do something that you wouldn’t do, or that you are responsible for something that you are responsible for. For example, with a subtype of OCD called religious OCD, which differs from real event OCD in that religious OCD is typically characterized by obsessions and compulsions related to religion, morals, or ethics, many people worried that they have done something unethical or something that violates their religion or morals when they have not. Another example of this is that someone with harm OCD might worry that they will cause harm to others when there is no logical reason to believe that and may engage in compulsions such as repeating words or phrases or checking to make sure that appliances are unplugged to make sure that bad things do not happen. Note that this is not the same as a delusion and that it is often more of a pervasive fear when the symptom is seen in those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, of course, causes obsessions and fixations as well as intrusive thoughts and mental images and can make a person obsess over having done something they haven’t or having done something wrong. The good news about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is that it is a highly treatable mental health condition. Support for OCD is available, and it is very possible to live a full, happy, and successful life with OCD.

Who Gets OCD?

Anyone can live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Here are some facts about OCD and who it impacts:

  • OCD can impact people of all ages. Statistics indicate that about one out of every 40 adults live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and roughly one in every 100 children live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
  • There’s no singular or direct cause for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but some risk factors may increase the likelihood that someone will develop OCD. Risk factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder include but aren’t limited to family history and environmental factors.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder impacts people of all genders.
  • According to the IOCDF, there are two age ranges where Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is most likely to develop. Common ages of onset are between the ages of 8 and 12 years old or during one’s late teen years or early adult years.
  • Many people who live with OCD experience an additional comorbid or co-occurring mental health condition. Frequently seen comorbidities or co-occurring diagnoses in those living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder include depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and eating disorders.

Support for Real Event OCD

There are a number of ways to get support for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Here are some ways to find professional support as well as peer support:

Therapy or Counseling

Types of therapy, such as standard CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and ERP (exposure and response prevention) therapy, are commonly used to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Types of therapy like CBT may occur one on one, in a group setting, or both. CBT for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder has been studied and proven effective for many in group settings and in individual therapy. Make sure to speak with a medical or mental health provider for all information and advice regarding specific treatments. If you’re interested in counseling or therapy, you can work with someone in your local area, or you may consider online counseling. If you’re struggling to find a provider who meets your needs, consider using the provider search tool in the upper right-hand corner of the Mind Diagnostics website, asking your doctor for a referral, conducting an online search, or contacting your insurance company to ask who they cover.

Support Groups

Support groups are not a replacement for mental health treatment, but they are cathartic for many, as they offer a sense of community and understanding. To find support groups near you, you can ask a mental health provider for a recommendation, search the web for “OCD support groups near me” or a similar applicable term, or use a resource finder, such as the resource directory on the IOCDF (International OCD Foundation) website, located here: https://iocdf.org/ocd-finding-help/find-help/. The resource finder on the IOCDF website helps find information about support groups and mental health professionals who can provide Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder treatment.

Online Forums 

While online forums, like support groups, can never replace mental health treatment, they have their own place as a form of peer support. Common online forums used by people with OCD include the “My OCD Community” forum on healthunlocked.com, which can be found here: https://healthunlocked.com/my-ocd, the OCD Action forum, which can be found here: https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/forum, and the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder forum on mentalhealthforum.net, which can be found here:

https://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/forums/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd-forum.46/. Online forums are convenient in the sense that, unlike support groups, you can check-in and post at any time, where support groups typically have set meeting times.

Remember that if you live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or think that you might be living with OCD, you’re not alone. People worldwide live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, including real event OCD, and support is out there.

Take the Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Test

After reading this post, are you wondering if you might have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder test. While taking the Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder test can’t replace an evaluation or diagnosis from a mental health professional, it can give you insight into your symptoms, and taking the test could just be the first step to reaching out for support. Although Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can affect people of all ages, the Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder test is for those aged 18 and older. Taking the Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder test is fast, free, and confidential.

Click the following link or copy and paste it into your browser to take the Mind Diagnostics Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder test: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/ocd-test.