Harm OCD: What is It, Symptoms & Treatment

Last Update on March 17, 2023 : Published on March 19, 2023

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts in the form of obsessions. These intrusive thoughts give rise to anxiety and are then reduced by compulsive behavior.

There are many different types of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some obsessives are related to perfection, some are related to symmetry, some are ritualized behaviors and some are related to harm.

Today we are going to talk about one of the most dangerous subtypes of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Harm obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the most dangerous of all as it not only involves self-harm but harm to other people as well.

Want to know more about harm OCD? Here you go…

What Is Harm OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)?

Harm OCD is one of the many types of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Just like the common symptoms of OCD, harm OCD also includes obsessions in the form of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behavior to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts.

What makes harm OCD different from other subtypes of obsessive-compulsive disorder is the nature of intrusive thoughts one has. Harm OCD can be described as an obsessive-compulsive disorder where the intrusive thoughts are related to either self-harm or harm someone else.

People with harm OCD often struggle with disturbing images, thoughts, undesirable feelings, intense fear, and an uncontrollable urge to cause harm to themselves or the people around them. These intrusive thoughts are always destructive in nature and have the potential to cause mass destruction.

Therefore, it is very important to understand such conditions because they can not only cause harm to themselves but are also dangerous to people around them. If you think you or someone you know might have harm OCD, pay close attention to the symptoms of harm OCD and consider getting proper treatment for the same.

Symptoms Of Harm OCD

People with harm OCD experience symptoms that are related to self-harm or harming others. Their intrusive thoughts about causing harm are so strong that their compulsions become even stronger.

Experts say, people With Harm OCD experience symptoms in one of two ways.

  • They either are having continuous thoughts about hurting someone or themselves accidentally
  • Or they worry about being so out of control that they’d hurt someone or themselves impulsively.

Here are some examples of obsession and compulsions experienced by people with harm OCD;


  • While chopping fruits and suddenly have the urge to stab the person standing next to you
  • While walking with a friend you suddenly have the urge to throw them under the bus
  • While taking your medicines your thoughts tell you to consume the whole bottle


  • You repeatedly ask people, “do you think I am capable of killing someone?”
  • You repeatedly tell yourself that you haven’t done anything in the past, and you can’t do it now either
  • You engage in some ritualized behavior to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts.

What Causes Harm OCD?

The exact cause of harm OCD has not been found yet. It is difficult to pinpoint something and call it a cause of harm OCD because such anxiety disorders can sometimes develop out of nowhere and sometimes have a strong cause behind them.

However, mental health experts do believe that there are some factors that could possibly contribute to the development of conditions like harm OCD. Let’s have a look at them;

  • Genetics: if someone in your family has a history of obsessive-compulsive disorder or other anxiety disorders, you have an increased chance of developing similar conditions.
  • Comorbid conditions: OCD is a condition that can coexist with other mental health conditions. Therefore, one can develop harm OCD if they are already suffering from a mental health condition.
  • Trauma: according to some studies it was proven trauma can make an individual develop conditions like harm OCD.

Treatment For Harm OCD

Harm OCD is a severe mental health condition as it has the potential to harm the suffering individual along with the people around them. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also not one of those conditions that can be treated on your own.

It is very important to get proper treatment from a mental health professional as such mental health conditions can be dangerous. Harm OCD can be treated with medical interventions like anti anxiety medicines, psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy, etc. However, Brain stimulation is considered to be one of the best treatment options for people with harm OCD.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about harm OCD helpful, informative and interesting. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we all know the symptoms of harm OCD so the treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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