• Emily Stetzer / 0 comments

Did you know being super focused on your body can be a form of OCD?

Over the past few days I’ve been hyper focused on my breath. “Am I short of breath? Is it safe to go to sleep? Do I need to go to the emergency room?”

The answer to those questions Today were very different than they were Wednesday night at 11:58 PM. But that’s a story for another day…

Here’s a subtype you might not of heard about before. It’s called sensorimotor (or somatic) OCD. 

Here are 5 things you should know about Sensorimotor/Somatic OCD:


1. Imagine feeling like every breath you take, every swallow, or every blink is under a magnifying glass.

That's what it's like living with sensorimotor OCD (sometimes called somatic OCD). These sensations become so intense and intrusive that they're all you can think about.

2. When those sensations become overwhelming, you find yourself doing strange things to try and ease the discomfort.

Maybe you're constantly checking your pulse or tensing and releasing your muscles in a certain way. These actions temporarily calm the anxiety, but they only reinforce the cycle of obsession and compulsion.

3. The focus on internal bodily experiences sets sensorimotor OCD apart from other subtypes.

It's not about fearing germs or doubting if you locked the door; it's about being hyper-focused on what's happening inside your own body.

4. Sensorimotor OCD isn't just a quirky habit; it can seriously disrupt your life.

You might avoid certain activities or social situations because you're scared they'll trigger those uncomfortable sensations. It feels like these obsessions and compulsions are taking over your life, leaving little room for anything else.

5. ERP has been a game-changer for many people with sensorimotor OCD.

ERP or exposure and response prevention helps you confront those feared sensations and learn to tolerate the discomfort without resorting to compulsive behaviors. Sometimes medication can also help take the edge off the anxiety.

Helpful reminders for sensorimotor/somatic OCD:





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