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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have an irrational fear that I'm going to hurt my family

Customer Question

I have an irrational fear that I’m going to hurt my family when I go to bed. Like one of those crazy people who are charged with the insane defense like in the book I read in The Killing of Bonnie Garland. In my class I learned that many people who commit these crimes don’t remember them and that it was a fit of passion. I would never EVER want to hurt anyone and I have no reason to. I would chain myself up first before hurting my family. I would never want to and I love them so much. I’m afraid of myself. I don’t know how to deal with this. How do I rid of this irrational fear? I feel insane. I think it’s OCD. An obsessive worry. It all started a week ago, this particular fear. Prior to this it was a compulsive fear that I couldn’t breathe before I went to bed. And before that I had an obsessive worry that I had an STD. I have had panic attacks and avoid the dark and going to bed. Going to sleep reminds me of the uncertainty of the subconscious. My dreams usually consist guys though; that have hurt me, and random little worries of my day, nothing about this worry at all what-so-ever. I’m afraid to go back to college because I don’t know what will happen then.
I would rather worry about anything else in the entire world because this fear is so disgusting to think of myself doing this. I love my family. They are my rock. They are always there through thick and thin. Why am I thinking this? I literally have had this worry every second every day for an entire week. What do I do….
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. Have you ever been treated for OCD before with medications and/or therapy?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no it's saturday so I figured nothing would be open. I have been on xanax for a few days .25
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand that but I am desperate. I feel terrible for having this worry.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I understand that, but you know that this website does not provide treatment and it does sound like you are meeting the criteria for OCD which means that your treatment regimen will probably last for months and that includes a SSRI antidepressant and a combination therapy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Xanax and other benzodiazepines are considered a poor treatment for OCD unfortunately, so this is why you are going to need an updated treatment regimen.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just wanted an opinion on what my real issue could be and what route to take. Thank you. I have never had a mental problem before and its just very scary. My roommate has a bunch and I'm concerned its why I have more worries. I'm not sure what the reason is, but thanks anyways.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Its hard to diagnose you without a face to face evaluation, but given how your worries and anxiety jumps from topic to topic in a rapid manner (e.g. hurting your family, STD, etc...) it sound like this is more of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) rather than OCD because OCD is usually on one specific topic and lasts a lot longer than just a week. A SSRI antidepressant in combination with the Xanax would be wise because you do not want to rely too much on the Xanax as it is a physically addictive substance and the SSRI antidepressant is very good at lessening anxiety and worry. CBT should still be considered as a long-term treatment plan to treat the core causes of your anxiety. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective, then your symptoms will lessen as well. Here are a few good links on CBT to help you to think more objectively and not focus on the negative, so that you can gain more control of your thoughts and lessen your anxiety.

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping to lessen negative type thinking. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns as I am happy to assist you.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.

*Please do not forget to leave a positive rating at the top of the page so that I can get credit for helping you. Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate it.