One of the lesser known types of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that still affects a lot of people around the world and causes them significant problems is the OCD false memory. It is called “false memory”, as there would be no actual evidence that something untoward has happened. Those who suffer from this condition tell stories that they have done something very wrong, such as murder or rape, but there is a complete lack of evidence that they had committed such an act. Also, they would be hesitant to let these memories go, believing that, despite the lack of evidence, there is a chance that they did something bad, even feeling guilty about it and demanding to know the absolute truth.
Most false memory OCD scenarios are observed to occur after a night of drinking, as being intoxicated seems to create a situation where a person will not be able to remember with any certainty what he did while he was drunk. However, this condition does not mean that alcohol is consumed in order to affect an individual, though it tends to be the most common case. Generally, the onset of an episode could occur in as little as a few hours after a real-life situation or event, though it can also take place up to a few years later, without any known reason when an intrusive thought would strike.
Typically, those who suffer from OCD false memory would get an intrusive thought that they have done something bad at a specified time and place, where they are not able to tell the difference whether it is intrusive or an actual memory. Almost immediately, they would start questioning whether what came to their mind is true or not.
Though details of the false memory will be very fuzzy at the initial stage, sufferers tend to ruminate excessively over the thought, which can cause more details being added, making the thought more real as time goes on. What’s worse, these people would end up ruminating even more, making their condition to spiral out of control sooner or later and causing them to spend countless hours going over the thought in their heads.
Also, sufferers could exhibit other compulsions, such as often talking to other people who were present at the event in question to be able to try and ascertain if anything had really gone bad. They would check their phones from time to time to see if there are messages about the false memory received or sent.
Addressing OCD False Memory
Getting past OCD false memory can be very difficult, where those who are suffering from it would have to take a leap of faith that they are actually dealing with an OCD intrusive thought, rather than a real memory. Then, these individuals would have to work very hard on preventing themselves to engage in performing compulsions, which means that they should allow such intrusive thoughts to pop up in their heads without giving them any attention. Cognitive work should be put in order to get them to realize that they would never commit heinous acts, proposed by intrusive thoughts.