8 Signs That You Might Have Somatic OCD

A checklist of common symptoms and behaviors. If you're suffering, consult a licensed professional.

Key Takeaways:
  • Somatic OCD involves the hyperawareness of your bodily functions, such as blinking and swallowing, and the fear that you won't be able to "ignore" or not focus on them. It is a less common subtype of Pure OCD.
  • Identifying subtypes of Pure OCD can be very difficult. Symptoms manifest differently for each sufferer. However, there tend to be common thoughts and behaviors that may indicate someone is suffering from Somatic OCD.
  • Dr. Jordan Levy is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Manhattan at the Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy and in Livingston, New Jersey.

1. Is your awareness persistently drawn to physiological processes such as swallowing, blinking or breathing?

2. Do you try to swallow, blink or breathe the “right way?”

3. Are you experiencing intrusive thoughts that make you fear you will be aware of these physiological processes forever? For example, thinking “What if I never stop thinking about blinking and I lose my mind? What if it continues to take the joy out of everything?”

4. Do you fear that you will never be able to stop counting the frequency of these behaviors?

5. Do you try to distract yourself from noticing your breathing, blinking or swallowing? For example, performing behaviors like avoiding mirrors, listening to loud music, or sleeping with the television or AC on.

6. Do you avoid certain people based on your awareness of their blinking, breathing, or swallowing? For example, avoiding someone who has prominent blinking behavior.

7. Are you generally hyperaware of bodily sensations?

8. Do you feel that others will notice you awkwardly swallowing, blinking or breathing?

*This checklist is not intended to serve as a replacement for a diagnosis by a qualified licensed psychologist.