How To Overcome Hit And Run OCD | Intrusive Thoughts
In this episode, I discuss Hit & Run OCD. With Hit And Run OCD a person experiences unwanted thoughts related to hurting others or themselves generally while they are operating a vehicle. I talk about some case studies of people who have gone through the treatment for Hit and Run OCD. I also discuss different compulsions people engage in and the overall treatment process.
00:04 All right. Hey guys, and welcome to this week's episode where we're going to talk about hit and run OCD and also the treatment process for it. So again, my name is Matt Cottey. I'm a licensed clinical social worker and I specialize in OCD and anxiety. And, and again, in this episode I want to talk about a specific form of OCD called hit and run OCD. And this is again in our series on intrusive thoughts. And so, um, you know, when we talk about hitting Renault city, this is a very common form of OCD and it's, um, you know, to just to quickly define it, it's um, a form of OCD where people will be driving usually their vehicle. Um, and they'll have a doubt or a thought that they may or may not have hit someone with their car or have Varun someone over or hit something, you know, like a mailbox or a trashcan and ax or another person's car.
00:57 And, um, you know, then they'll feel a sense of guilt and doubt because of it, which will cause them to engage in different compulsions to try to remedy the thoughts and anxiety. Right. And that's that OCD loop that we're w we talk about where it's, you know, obsessions, compulsions, I'm sorry, obsessions, anxiety, and then compulsions in relief. And when all four of those connect, you know, it, it just tends to build upon itself. So, um, you know, what I want to talk about today is kind of a case study, um, of, you know, someone with this particular form of OCD and how, um, you know, we've gone about working with them to overcome it in the past. And again, um, this is going to be a combination of, of people that I've, I've worked with, so it's going to be a fictional character, but the, the idea remains the same.
01:44 So, um, that's, that's the kind of main takeaway for this particular episode. So when, when someone comes with a hit and run OCT, oftentimes one of the major, major, um, compulsions that they're going to do is avoid driving, right? And so they'll constantly look to try to have someone else drive them. They may take Uber's or taxis or lifts or the, you know, public transportation to avoid driving. Now what we need to understand about that though is that just strengthens the, the OCD cycle, right? And so if you have those intrusive thoughts of, Oh, well, what if I hit someone and when you're driving and that makes you anxious, but then you avoid driving, what that does is that reinforces those thoughts. So those thoughts are more likely to come up in the future, right? And so other common, um, compulsions that people will do.
02:32 So just, just to summarize some, some basic thoughts. It's what if I hit someone? What if I ran someone over? Um, you know, what if I, you know, like, like that, that is the overall umbrella theme. Now that can take on various forms. It might be a certain person, it might be a car vehicle, whatever. But that's that idea of a hit and run OCT. I hit something and I left the scene without, um, without going back to know if I really did so compulsion's that I've seen people perform and include things like driving the same exact loop. They just drove to go check to make sure that no one got hurt, right. Or there was, there's no ambulance or you know, something like that along the route. And what happens is, is that they'll drive the loop back. You know, let's say they drove to work, they'll drive back home and then they'll drive back to work, but then they'll think that they may have hit someone that next time.
03:21 So they end up just driving the same loop again and again and again. Um, other compulsion's include, um, you know, like mentally reassuring yourself, constantly checking rear view mirrors, this and that. Um, you know, to always make sure, you know, I know no one got hit. Um, yeah, reassurance, calling people to, you know, have them reassure you. I've even seen people go as far as calling like hospitals or more just to see if anyone was struck by a vehicle. Um, you know, and, and, and again, the brain can get very creative on possibilities as, as we know with anxiety and OCD. So what I want to talk about is kind of how, um, I've worked with people in the past that have, have had this and, uh, you know, how we can have success with this treatment. So again, let's first define what success with this particular form of OCD is.
04:08 Success ultimately is the removal of all compulsions, right? It's not that the person has to feel completely anxiety free or never have thoughts like this again, because if we aim for those goals in treatment, we're not going to hit them, right? In fact, we're probably gonna make them worse. And that's ultimately, you know, where, where the PR, where most people go wrong with OCD treatment, right? Is they start with the goal of not having intrusive thoughts and not experiencing anxiety because they, again, assume because the anxiety is uncomfortable and because the thoughts are uncomfortable that that is the problem. But the reality is, is that when you do compulsions, it reinforces those thoughts which are make, which only make the feeling stronger, which then again creates that loop and cycle and, and ult ultimately spirals and spirals and spirals. And the more OCD spirals, the more it limits your life, right?
05:03 So the goal ultimately is to have the person become as individual as possible when it comes to transporting themselves and to drive as much as possible. Right? Um, and so we don't want to do anything that's reinforcing the OCD. So first and foremost, we want to eliminate the compulsions, right? And once we eliminate the compulsion's, which include all the checking, things like that, then we actually want to go ahead and drive. Right? And so, um, you know, with, with people with OCD, it's not an or a hit and run a city. Um, generally I'll follow them in my car and their car and we'll drive, you know, maybe certain little loops at first just to get comfortable driving. And it's the same habituation process though, right? We start off kind of small, easy drives, then we'll go on more complicated drives. We may drown if they're uncomfortable driving around schools, we'll go drive around schools.
05:53 Um, you know, if we're uncomfortable on the freeway, we'll go to the freeway. It's, it's wherever the OCD is very sensitive. We want to start attacking those places, right? And, and really habituating to those places so that normal driving is easier and easier and easier. And again, when they stopped driving, that's usually when the hit and run. OCD will kick in and it's, Oh, well what if I hit someone back there and I didn't see? And so, um, what, what you need to do at that point is ultimately sit with that uncertainty and doubt, you know, and just kind of, okay, well, you know what, that's possible, I guess. And, and, and when you sit with that, that anxiety is going to kind of bubble up. And as you sit with it and don't do compulsion's, it will go down over time. And what happens is when you let the anxiety go down over time, that's called habituation.
06:41 Ultimately you're not feeding those thoughts and ultimately you're not, um, you know, you're not reinforcing that loop because again, the, the whole point of the treatment processes again, is to let the anxiety drop on its own without compulsions. So you're not training your brain that these thoughts are dangerous or something that you really need to be taking, consider like a considering as a threat. Okay. So hopefully that makes sense, um, on that, on that process. So, um, and then, uh, you know, eventually you'll go into higher things. Like I've had people write narratives about, you know, hitting someone. I've stood in front of someone's car, you know, where they're sitting there like, and you know, afraid that they're going to step on the gas around me over. So, I mean, I've done things like that, but again, um, you know, this is something that I've, I've worked with, I've also heard of people, um, you know, like laying down something like a, a bag or something like the bag of sand or something in the road and having them run over the, you know, like drive over the sand to field a bump there.
07:33 There's creative ways of, of doing that, of facing it. But again, you, you want to make sure that you're doing this with a qualified professional if this is something that you're looking at getting help for. But I just wanted to talk about kind of the overall concept of what it is and how you would go about treating it. Kind of just in, in theory, right? Um, you know, based on people that I've worked with and also I'm just OCD treatment in general. So again, the one thing that we don't want to do is accommodate and avoid driving. We want to face the fear head on. We want to do the things and challenge the OCD head-on. Um, because again, that's what's ultimately going to get you better. It's compulsion removal, not anxiety or thought removal. That is the goal of the treatment process. And so, um, so just to quickly summarize, um, you know, hitting, run OCD is the idea of thoughts about whether or not you hit someone when you were driving or ran someone over hurt someone.
08:24 And the compulsion's usually include checking, reassurance, um, you know, uh, go, going, looping back in, checking, um, avoiding driving, um, you know, trying to get other people to drive you places. So being proactive and actually going and driving, things like that. That's, that's really what we're looking for, um, with individuals with this specific subtype. And, um, so again, that summary is just, that's what it is. And then the compulsion removal and to drive as much as possible, um, is really the goal of the, uh, the recovery process. And so, um, and so hopefully that is helpful. Hopefully that makes sense. And again, if you found this helpful, please, um, you know, subscribe, click the link, like button below comment. And then we also have some additional free resources, um, down below in the links. Um, so that you can, you know, when we have assessments, guides, uh, stuff to help you on your journey, if this is something that you're dealing with over at our site, restored mines.com. And so thank you so much for hanging out with us on this episode. Um, it's been fun as always, and so, uh, we're going to keep continuing on this intrusive thought series, so we'll see you next week with a whole nother episode on, uh, responsibility, OCD. So thank you so much and I hope you guys have a great day.