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

Get Private and Confidential Help in the Privacy of Your Own Home

  • 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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Self-Help Hypnosis Downloads

Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind and help you cope with your grief. We recommend Hypnosis Downloads which have been created especially for those who are grieving by qualified specialists in medical hypnotherapy.

Choose from this list of grief and loss tracks for your specific type of loss.  


Memorial Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia is one of the earth's oldest plants, with a spectacular flower which dates back 95 million years.  What a beautiful specimen to commemorate a life. 

These trees are grown by the foremost magnolia nursery in the USA and they will send a variety most suited to the recipient's climate. 

The flowers in spring will bring joy to the bereaved and help to heal their heart.

Only available in the USA. 

For Memorial Trees within the UK, click here

Related Pages: 

Can bereavement cause depression? 

Can bereavement cause weight gain? 

More questions about bereavement

> > Can Bereavement Cause OCD?


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