Comments on
OCD and Reading

As many of us already know, obsessive-compulsive disorder often latches on to the things that matter to us most. Your family and friends mean the world to you? Let’s give you harming obsessions.

21 thoughts on “OCD and Reading

  • March 7, 2017 at 1:08 am

    I know exactly what you mean! I have had diagnosed OCD and depression for years, and have been off and on different medications. One thing that has always been a relief for me is reading! I love to read, as I am a super nerd. I read everything from detailed technical books, history books, literature, philosophy, ext… However, for some reason within the last couple of years, I have been developing reading OCD, and it’s gotten worse. The more technical or detailed the book, the harder it is. Easier books like certain novels aren’t as bad. But it’s killing me!!! The one thing I love more than anything else is now becoming actual hard work!!!! I refuse to stop reading!!! I read everyday for as long as I always have, but now I barely can get through a few pages at a time, and I feel so stressed and worked up after an hour or so! All the other OCD symptoms I have are bad enough, but I would give anything just to have my mind relax while I read!!! I feel lost now.

    • March 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Thanks for sharing. As we know, OCD targets the things that are most important to us, and so it’s not surprising that it has decided to attack your reading. I’m sorry this is happening to you but you are certainly on the right track when you say you won’t stop reading. I hope you have a good therapist who can work on this with you (ERP therapy) so you can get back to enjoying everything you read. I wish you all the best!

      • March 7, 2017 at 8:01 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I never went through ERP but by psychiatrist keeps insisting that I do. Do you know how they would go about it concerning reading? Being such an abstract subject I don’t see how they can do it. The only time OCD effects my reading is when I’m reading something I want to read, not when I’m reading some random text, that I don’t find important. So I’m curious how they can help? Thanks.

      • April 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm

        A good therapist will work with you as described in my post – basically going against everything OCD tells you to do.

  • April 20, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I also suffer from reading ocd from last 4 years(it started in 11th standard and now I’m in 1st year btech)& it has made my life a mysery,earlier i used to score very good marks above 90% but in these 4 years my academic performance has declined very much, i no longer enjoy reading & studying ( i have concentration issues too) not just my course books but also the other books,newspapers,etc sometimes i get stuck or reread& reread,i take too much time while reading or studying,i am unable to finish even my course books (forget about revision). I feel very stressed while reading ,wether it be course book or novel or something else. I feel helpless because i’m not able to work hard & improve my marks. I want to come out of all this ,and want a life in which i can read whatever i want and for how much time i want. Please help me ,i want to know some way to come out of this.

    • April 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Amit, As mentioned in this post you need to connect with a therapist who is experienced in treating OCD and he or she will work with you on your reading OCD. If that is not possible, there are self-help books on ERP therapy to get you started. Good luck!

      • April 27, 2017 at 9:23 am

        I have gone to 2-3 psychiatrists but what they all do is that they start medicines( fluvoxine or serata ,etc) but i don’t get much relief through that . I will try do erp on my own.
        Thankyou very much .

      • April 28, 2017 at 5:29 pm

        Hi Amit, You are welcome. It is true that psychiatrists typically dispense medication and do not have experience with ERP therapy. Good luck as you move forward!

      • May 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

        I wanted to know if a person with ocd experience headaches too .Most of the time of the day i feel like some of my brain nerves are stretched or something like that, i feel like something is pinching on the left side of my head in the middle (near the ear) and ache in nearby portion upto left eye.I wanted to know if that’s due to ocd or because of some other reason.Pls tell me .

      • May 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm

        I’m not a doctor. If you are having persistent headaches I suggest you see a physician.

      • September 14, 2018 at 10:54 am

        “I wanted to know if a person with ocd experience headaches too .Most of the time of the day i feel like some of my brain nerves are stretched or something like that…”

        Yes, Amit. I experience the same. It’s because we think so intensely.

  • June 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you for this post. I experience reading OCD quite often. I have to fight the urge to go back and reread, or I try to read too fast and feel the urge to reread from that.

    I’ve seen a psychologist for many years in my life and I have long taken medication. Maybe it’s time to go back to seeing a therapist again. Life is hard.

    • June 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Tyler, Thank you for sharing and I’m sorry you have been having such a difficult time. Yes! Please find a good therapist who can help you fight your OCD. Good luck!

  • August 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Janet,

    I have a reading OCD that does not involve re-reading text but is connected with hearing my ‘inner narrator voice’ (I know that sounds a bit weird). I don’t know what to do. I’m a rising third year and it’s impacting my studies :(. I tried many times to face my fear/OCD but to no avail. I saw therapists for 2 years and no one understands what I’m saying. What are your suggesstions for fighting this OCD? I feel hopeless and do not want to return to college.

  • September 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I used to read religiously when I was younger. Up until I was about fifteen…many things were going wrong in my life at the time…my Grandmother was dying and I had Cancer…
    I was always borrowing books from the library, and one time I borrowed Peter Pan…I recall rereading Captain Hook’s last words of ‘Bad Form’ over again, and, even after I set the book down and turned out the lights, I had to read them again…just to make sure? Of what? I turned the lights back on and turned to the page and read them again…why? I dunno. The same reason that I had to touch the curtain in the bathroom seven times…or, the same reason that I had to touch the back of the couch in the next room seven times. Why seven? =/ I eventually tossed the book to the other side of the room (sorry, book).
    It got better a few years later…I finally finished The Deathly Hallows and could even read and get absorbed in the Twilight series (sitting on the couch eating cookies and cream ice-cream, reading until I was very tired and then going to bed and feeling happy and fulfilled…or, reading in the car even though my parents said that it made me sick but I didn’t care because I wanted to know the story!)…
    Now…sometimes when I read, I time my breathing with the words that I am reading…I blink at the full-stops (just to make sure that I am seeing them?)…at the worst case scenario I even silently mouth the words that I am reading, but, when combined with the other things, this can made reading a nightmare. 🙁
    Sometimes I even read the page numbers at the bottom of the pages…or, worse still, after I have read everything, I kind of move my eyes around to ‘take in’ all of the page/s…in a kind of circle…
    I miss reading the way that I USED to read…my Mum always says that the mind is a very powerful thing, she even used to iron clothes at 3AM in the morning…I think that I avoid reading just so that I won’t have that gut-wrenching feeling when I don’t do some weird thing… T__T

    • February 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Damn,I feel compeletely the same! Everything matches up! Even the breathing part! Sometimes I even make myself nauseous because I’m breathing very strange. It takes me months to read a book because I just can’t concentrate and have to re-read EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, I can not get help. I am still a teen and my parents would never take me serious.

  • September 26, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Also, to further add to my previous comment: when I read something to myself outloud (something that I’ve done since I was a kid, just because I like read funny parts in a book outloud to enjoy it better) I then must read it silently twice…I don’t know why…

  • October 15, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Hii im a medical student and im really having a trouble with reading ocd.When im reading i select a some random word,which i might feel dats might have a little different with its pronounciations.The words differ from Time to time.These days im troubling reading -ged words (enlarged,damaged) -sts (lasts,persists).Soo i need to re read those.I trouble to continue reading and go to the begining of the sentence and re read.Then re read the word.Might repeat this for 10,20 times.So i m down with my studies too..Soo iritating.

  • February 25, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for your description.
    I’m a medical student and without reading I can’t live. I’m diagnosed with severe perfectionism and one of the consequences is ocd witch I’m having it now in reading. Lately I reread every single word so that I be sure I understood everything but it keeps getting worse. I’m under severe mental pressure. The classes won’t let me visit my psychiatrist. I feel really devastated.😭

  • October 29, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    This past year my husband participated in the 6 week long ERP training at the UCLA OCD Intensive Treatment Program. For those who struggle with OCD and cannot afford or insurance will not cover the cost of an ERP therapist or program, here are two self help books that came out of the UCLA OCD program: 1) Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD. This is a four-step self-treatment method to change your brain chemistry. 2) Getting Control: Overcoming Your Obsessive and Compulsions by Lee Baer PH.D. Also a four step self help program, only a newer and more updated version. I also suggest a children’s book that was amazingly helpful for adults: What Do You Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck by Dawn Huebner PH.D. ERP therapy is not easy (deliberate exposure to OCD triggers can generate lots of anxiety) but these two books walk you through the process, and it’s worth the trouble! Try to enlist family members or trusted friends to become helpers. The books have chapters on training helpers — it’s easier when you have help to get you through. Best wishes to all, and have hope. The sooner you start the quicker the results. Don’t give into the ODC monster!

  • April 14, 2019 at 4:22 am

    I am 24 and going to college. For History I need to read a book that is 560 pages, right now i am on 195. I need to finish it by May 2nd. I have felt the need to reread, and reread it. my professor wants us to read the whole book we picked out. God helped me today for a while when reading. And i just want to feel no more guilt if i read and keep moving forward, even if i didn’t get what i read…its like I feel like I am not honest if i dont get what i read, and i worry i miss words. Then I feel like I didn’t really read the whole book. Ugh..


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