Desire-Intrusive Thoughts

What to Do When Sexual, Religious, and Harm Obsessions Carry Unwanted Arousal 
By Carol Edwards

PURE-INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are involved, disturbing, and more challenging to treat when they consist of a desire-intrusive component. This book examines this critical issue. The first part looks at the author's experiences of living with OCD. It further discusses self-harm, paedophilia, addiction, morality and guilt. The second part gives a practical guide for treating OCD. Currently, the methods include cognitive-behavioural therapy, exposure-response prevention, Mindfulness and medication. The third part digs deeper to understand better the desire-intrusive element. It talks about intrusive lust for darkness amidst terror in religious OCD that stirs up subsequent feelings of misplaced guilt. It explains arousal in paedophile, transgender, incest and porn obsessions followed by erroneous self-labelling. 

Moreover, it examines the distinction between suicide-obsessive thoughts with suicide ideation, and it defines non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) versus self-harm obsessions. This honest and practical book concludes by incorporating additional techniques for improving treatment outcomes. And it shows how deep brain stimulation can target the brain areas responsible for OCD when conventional treatments fail. 'This is a very demanding piece… I'm sure that you are onto something. I long puzzled about obsessions and addictions, not least in my own case!!' Professor F. Toates, author of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Biological Psychology.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD has two essential characteristics - obsessions and compulsions. The first are the intrusive thoughts that come into one's mind without their will. The second are the behaviours people do to make the obsessions go away. Compulsions include checking, straightening, praying, ruminating, reassurance-seeking and washing. However, what the person doesn't know yet is that such actions are not the solution. They do not make intrusive thoughts go away. Instead, compulsions reinforce that there is real danger when there isn't. As a consequence, the problem keeps going and thus strengthens the obsession, making it more difficult to manage.
Exposure-Response Prevention
Exposure-response prevention (ERP) is a well-known therapy that helps prevent the actions people do in response to the intrusive thoughts. The obsessions include contamination fears, an intolerance to asymmetry, fear of harm coming to oneself or someone else. Other fears include being gay, transgender, a paedophile, or having mistaken intentions to hurt others or oneself. Also, one's attention to specific parts of the body and the functioning of these parts can cause a lot of distress. The heart beating and fearing it is irregular is one example. Also included in one's awareness might be a person's breathing, eye-blinking, and a crawling sensation on the skin. When people do ERP, they are taught to face their fears in small steps - this is EXPOSURE. When facing obsessions people are shown how to resist compulsions - this is RESPONSE PREVENTION. Overtime, this builds a tolerance to anxiety and leads to reduced symptoms or remission.

Carol Edwards, OCD Writer and study coach

Carol Edwards is a former cognitive behavioural therapist by profession and a writer by passion specialising in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related issues. Her recently published book titled Desire-Intrusive Thoughts is available at and She writes educational articles for therapists new to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for OCD and also anyone who has an interest in OCD and related problems (see topics on menu). Making OCD knowledge understandable and available to the general public, is something she continues to love doing through her blogs at

'You can have the confidence in the quality and expertise of my written material and the reliability of my ongoing professional development for bringing fresh topics to your inbox.' 

Carol Edwards

Carol Edwards, OCD writer and study coach

© Copyright:Carol Edwards