Obsessive compulsive disorder - OCD treatment and therapy from NOCD

Fears about staring

By Andrea Fine

Dec 2, 20225 minute read

What is OCD fear of staring?

Somatic OCD focused on Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring involves fears about staring at others in a way that may be deemed socially inappropriate, such as staring excessively at body parts or private areas.

People with these fears may feel an urge to continue to stare even though they really don’t want to. They may have concerns that others will view their behavior as inappropriate or strange, feel uncomfortable around them, or draw attention to their behavior. The person may feel as though they are going crazy or losing control.

People experiencing Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring themes in Somatic OCD are not trying to stare at people, and they feel that this behavior is outside of their control. This is an unwanted and intrusive urge. They are afraid of what others will think of them, fearing the social repercussions of their behavior.

Ocular Tourettic OCD – Common obsessions

  • What if people draw attention to my staring?
  • What if I make others uncomfortable?
  • How will others view me? Will they think poorly of me?
  • What if people think I am a creep?
  • What if someone thinks I am a pervert?
  • What if I can never stop staring at people?
  • Is there something wrong with me?

Do these thoughts sound familiar? Learn how you can overcome them.

As an OCD specialist, I know how overwhelming OCD symptoms can be—and how hard it is to open up about your experience. You’re not on your own, and you can talk to a specialist like me who has experience treating OCD.

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Common triggers

People with Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring themes in Somatic OCD may be triggered by situations involving being near other people, social settings, or any situation in which others are present. They may be particularly triggered by people who are wearing revealing clothing. They may be triggered by people with noticeable physical impairments and disabilities.

Triggers for people with fears of staring in Contamination OCD may include:

  • Crowded areas
  • People wearing revealing clothing
  • Swimwear/beaches
  • People with distinctive visible features

How can I tell if it’s Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring fears in Somatic OCD and not another condition or a healthy level of social anxiety?

People with Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring themes in Somatic OCD may be triggered by situations involving being near other people, social settings, or any situation in which others are present. They may be particularly triggered by people who are wearing revealing clothing. They may be triggered by people with noticeable physical impairments and disabilities.

Common compulsions

When people with Ocular Tourettic or excessive staring fears in Somatic OCD experience intrusive thoughts, images, feelings, or urges that cause distress, they may engage in compulsions, which are physical or mental acts done to alleviate the distress and discomfort caused by intrusive thoughts or fears. Compulsions may provide temporary relief, but do nothing to keep obsessions from returning again and again, with an even stronger urge to perform compulsions. Performing compulsions inadvertently strengthens obsessions and fears, reinforcing the idea that they dealt with anxiety effectively.

Compulsions performed mentally or physically by people with Somatic OCD with a focus on Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring may include:

  • Staring at private parts of others
  • Avoidance of public places or other people
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Distraction
  • Staring at flaws/scars of others
  • Self-reassurance

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I’ve personally helped many people regain their lives from OCD. I encourage you to learn about accessing ERP therapy with NOCD.

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How to treat fear of staring

Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring fears can be debilitating, but they are highly treatable. By doing exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy with an OCD specialist, you can find freedom from the OCD cycle.

ERP is the gold standard treatment for OCD and many other anxiety disorders. It is backed by decades of clinical research proving its effectiveness and shows promising results within 12-25 sessions on average. With ERP, you will learn effective ways to accept uncertainty and sit with anxiety and discomfort.

In ERP, you’re gradually and safely exposed to the thoughts and situations that are likely to trigger your fears and resulting anxiety. With your therapist’s guidance and support, you will resist the urge to respond with compulsions. By doing this continually over time, you learn that you are able to tolerate anxiety, and you will feel more confident in your ability to sit with uncertainty and discomfort.

Examples of possible exposures done to treat Ocular Tourettic/excessive staring fears include:

  • Purposefully staring for a certain period of time at photos of people/triggers
  • Writing an imaginal script about being caught staring and the worst-case scenario resulting from this, then reading it out loud repeatedly
  • Creating a loop tape with triggering words and listen to it regularly

If you’re struggling with OCD, As an OCD specialist, I’ve used ERP to help many people regain their lives from OCD. I encourage you to learn about NOCD’s accessible, evidence-based approach to treatment with the NOCD care team to learn how a licensed therapist can help. At NOCD, all therapists specialize in OCD and receive ERP-specific training. ERP is most effective when the therapist conducting the treatment has experience with OCD and training in ERP.

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