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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition marked by intrusive thoughts or ideas that force those suffering from the condition to the point of psychological torture if they fail to perform this feat. This condition can force patients with OCD into repetitive patterns like continuously washing their hands with soap and water, checking and re-checking their door locks to make sure they are closed or something more sinister in nature. Patients with OCD may also have thoughts of wanting to physically harm themselves or others which is far more dangerous than simply losing some time washing hands or locking doors. [1]

If you are 1 of the entire 2 percent of population worldwide who suffers from OCD, you need to be aware that you are not the only one suffering from these thoughts of wishing to harm yourself or others. OCD is a disease that is marked by 5 distinctive stages of these desires. Stage 1 through 5 are thoughts about possible contamination, guilt and a desire to harm yourself or others, doubts or uncertainty about everything, taboo thoughts about sex, murder or blasphemy and finally, a need for order and symmetry. Each stage will manifest in subjective ways and some who suffer from OCD may experience or be stuck in one stage for a longer time than others. 

Those who find themselves suffering from a desire to harm themselves or others generally have histories of traumatic events in their past which were emotionally traumatic. The key to being able to manage and rid yourself of these impulses is to be able to determine what the triggering event was and ways to manage your compulsions so they do not overpower your life. Patients need to meet with a psychologist in order to uncover what possible triggers were and then utilize a combination of medications and behavioral therapy in order for the patient to become less influenced by typical desires. 

In most cases, patients who express a desire to harm themselves or others will have very guilty feelings about the action and never do anything in reality. This psychological torture can be quite bothersome for patients and can lead to a significant reduction in their quality of lives as well as a fear of surrounding themselves with friends or family because they worry that they could act on some of these impulses. 

There are two main schools of thought for how to deal with patients suffering from OCD.

One form of therapy is called exposure treatments and it involves exposing patients to stimuli that are known to trigger anxiety in patients like germs or door locks and forcing the patients to overcome their urges to act on their desires. This should only be done in the presence of a professional because he is able to explain away and use distracting techniques in order to help the patient ignore the urge and eventually, overcome it. This type of therapy works nearly 84 percent of the time and follow-up studies indicate that patients suffering from OCD do not have repeated urges after 1 year 75 percent of the time

The other branch of therapy is a more classic cognitive-behavior treatment method where a psychologist will discuss the reasoning for impulses and desires with the patient in order to force the patient to re-interpret why they do each activity. This will help patients learn to neutralize why they do certain actions. This form of therapy is not as effective as exposing them directly to what they desire the most but does have a useful place in the management of symptoms. 

All in all, if you suffer from OCD, just realize that these impulses to want to hurt yourself or others is entirely natural and should be something you are not afraid to share with your doctor. Through behavioral therapy, you will be able to learn to overcome these impulses and desires and enjoy a higher quality of life as a result. [2]

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