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Rumination OCD

Rumination OCD — Symptoms & Treatment

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and can manifest quite differently in one sufferer from the next. Rumination is a core feature of OCD that causes a person to spend an inordinate amount time worrying about, analyzing, and trying to understand or clarify a particular thought or theme. Rumination occurs in all forms and subtypes of OCD in which person indulges in long periods of time perseverating on the topic of their obsessions, such as contamination or mental checking.

Treatment for Rumination OCD

People suffering from Rumination OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD. OCD specialists are trained and equipped to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including OCD that includes significant rumination. All types of OCD can be treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically with treatment approaches called Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Mindful-Based CBT teaches patients that everyone experiences intrusive thoughts. Individuals will also learn that intrusive thoughts have no power over them and that by responding to their thoughts through compulsive behaviors, their thoughts are given more strength and credibility and their fears and obsessions are strengthened and reinforced. Mindfulness-Based CBT is a very effective OCD treatment, especially when combined with ERP.

ERP exposes patients to situations related to their intrusive thoughts that cause them anxiety. The goal of this treatment is for the patient to prevent himself or herself from completing their compulsive behaviors when triggered by intrusive thoughts. The situations that are confronted will intensify over time, until the patient can face and overcome their most feared scenario. Once they are able to stop themselves from responding to their intrusive thoughts with compulsive behaviors, they can experience tremendous relief from the symptoms of OCD.

If patients are suffering from severe levels of anxiety due to their OCD, they may benefit from participating in treatment at an Intensive Outpatient (IOP) OCD treatment program, as is offered by The Gateway Institute. The Gateway Institute offers Intensive Outpatient treatment options as well as regular outpatient psychotherapy sessions, and a free, 30 minute face-to-face consultation with one of our experienced and caring clinicians at all three of our beautiful locations in Orange CountyScottsdale, Arizona, and the San Francisco Bay Area.  OCD symptoms typically worsen over time and can take over a person’s life, so it is very important to seek OCD treatment as soon as possible with a skilled and dedicated OCD specialist who can provide expertise and support during this journey.

Other Common Sub-Types of OCD

It is not uncommon for an individual suffering from one OCD sub-type to also suffer from other sub-types. Treating co-occurring sub-types simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from OCD.

Harm OCD
Homosexual (HOCD)
Pure O (Pure Obsessional OCD)
Relationship OCD
Sexual OCD

The Gateway Institute is here to support you in getting the help that you need.

Symptoms of Rumination OCD

Common Obsessions of Rumination OCD

Rumination within OCD can cause a variety of intrusive thoughts that are different for each person. A person may experience symptoms of OCD that involve multiple themes and subtypes of OCD, and it is not unusual for a person to suddenly experience obsessions about new OCD content areas.
Some common ruminations or obsessive thoughts include the following:

  • Obsessive thoughts regarding cleanliness
  • Fear of harming someone
  • Disturbing thoughts of inappropriate sexual activities
  • Intense thoughts of constant perfection
  • Philosophical or existential obsessions

Common Compulsions of Rumination OCD

Some of the compulsive behaviors that occur within OCD also may include:

  • Constantly going through a mental checklist to ensure cleanliness
  • Constantly checking to make sure one did not harm anyone around them
  • Avoiding certain places or people to prevent being triggered
  • Spending long periods of time reviewing past events and memories
  • A long period of time spent pondering philosophical or existential topics

The time spent lingering on these intrusive thoughts can impact a person’s life significantly and can prevent them from completing important tasks. A person may become so occupied with their obsessions and intrusive thoughts that they withdraw from their relationships and other obligations in their lives, such as work, school, or familial tasks.

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