Can bereavement cause OCD? 

OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder is a neurobiological disorder which studies show is most probably inherited. So bereavement is not the cause of OCD.  

Having said that, people with existing OCD or with a pre-disposition can find that their symptoms begin or are triggered by a specific event such as the death of a loved one.  For more information about the the causes of OCD click here. 

OCD is definitely made worse by anxiety, as individuals with this condition learn that they can control their anxiety or stress with repetitive or obsessive rituals or compunctions.  It is a way for the brain to distract itself from the difficulty of facing the grief they feel.  

For this reason, many people report that their OCD was brought on by a bereavement.  It is the stress and anxiety of grieving which are particularly difficult for those with a tendency for OCD and can trigger symptoms.  

Coping with Grief and OCD

Understanding that grief is hard for everyone, but especially so for those with OCD is a good start on the road to recovery.  

Acceptance of your grief, and the feelings that it brings can help.  Learning healthy strategies to cope with your grief will lessen the need for OCD compulsions while grieving.  

You can find lots of pages about coping with grief on this site, including ways of reducing anxiety through activities and yoga. 

This link from the OCD Recovery Centre has some really good information about the feelings that you will encounter and how you can learn to cope with them but if you are having difficulties controlling obsessive behaviours, do get medical help.  

Treatments may include medications and therapies such as CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy.  

You can get CBT online these days which can be much more convenient than having to travel to see a therapist face to face, and it is completely confidential.  We recommend the highly qualified expert counselors and psychologists at BetterHelp.  See below.  

Another treatment which people find helpful is hypnotherapy.  You can do this yourself at home with Hypnotherapy Downloads which have been created by professional medical hypnotherapists.  They have several specialising in OCD: 

Gentle OCD Treatment Download

Stop Obsessive Checking Download

Stop Obsessive Cleaning Download

Stop Compulsive Hand Washing Download

Overcome Exercise Addiction

Where to get help: 

Have You Considered One-on-One Online Grief Counseling? 

Get Expert and Effective Help in the Comfort of Your Own Home

The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.  

Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward?  It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life. 

Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.

  • Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you.  It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.  
  • Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.  
  • Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone. 
  • You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
  • Click here to find out more and get started immediately.
  • Or read more about how online counseling works here.  
Woman Crying. Get Started with Online Counselling

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Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You

Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.  

Read more about it here. 

Related Pages: 

Can bereavement cause depression? 

Can bereavement cause weight gain? 

More questions about bereavement

For Remembrance: 

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Heart Shaped Sterling Silver Pendant for Cremation Ashes, Engraved Forever Loved

Memorial Jewelry to Honour a Loved One

Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one.  Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles.  Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift. 

Click here to see our selection

Create an Online Memorial Website

Honour your loved one with their own memorial website.  Share photos, videos, memories and more with your family and friends in a permanent online website.  Free for basic plan with no ads. 

Find out more here. 

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Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.  

The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day! 

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