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Constant Fear of Going to Jail?

Most of us have at least once felt the urge to bend the law at some point in our lives. For some though, the fear can be very overwhelming. Thoughts like “terrified of breaking the law without my knowledge,” “why do I constantly fear going to jail” may nag their minds constantly. If you have ever experienced these, you should know that you’re not alone. 

These thoughts may be because of OCD, which is short for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Intrusive thoughts are not rare in such cases as well. Fear of going to jail also seems to be a common complaint about people with OCD. These intrusive thoughts can latch themselves onto anything you may consider valuable, including real-life events. 

By now, you may have already seen the term fear of going to jail OCD floating around. It may have been why you have decided to click on this article. The good news is that you’ll also learn about how to keep these thoughts at bay. So, make sure to stick around till the end. 

Table of Content

What is Real Event OCD?

It’s relatively normal for one to fear real-life events. But in the case of those with OCD, these thoughts can be very paralyzing. They may begin with hints of truth, which is why they can be so alluring and grab attention fast. So, fear of going to jail OCD is one of this kind. 

Most people can put their past mistakes behind them and avoid incessantly worrying. But OCD sufferers feel anxiety and overwhelming guilt more than regular people. So much so that they can’t put it past them and start falling into the loop of intrusive thoughts. 


They have a strong sense of urgency that they must attend to or else these compulsive thoughts continue to plague their minds. People with OCD often cognitively distort their reality. 

Additionally, they may use emotional reasoning where one regards their emotions as facts. So, the tiniest action that’s typically insignificant may seem overly shameful and persist in an OCD brain. Later, these feelings enable ritualizing and maintaining the fear of real-life events, such as fear of going to jail OCD

So, does OCD cause fear, or does fear cause OCD, and is OCD based on fear? It can be different for your case. It may be that your fear of going to jail OCD has developed because of an event in your real life. But having these thoughts can nonetheless seem scary and evoke more fear.

Sometimes, people confuse the fear of going to jail with OCD with a phobia. So, you may also wonder, “does OCD cause phobias?”

It’s not always the case, so I would stop you there if you’re feeling alarmed. Some of the symptoms of OCD and phobia may overlap. For example, both conditions are characterized by intense irrational fear. 

They may have some of the same treatment options. There have been cases where the OCD may develop into a phobia and vice versa. It is difficult to say with conviction whether it happens for sure because each case is very different. 

Is It Normal to Constantly Fear Going to Jail?

The fear of ending up in jail is common among people with OCD. In many forums, people seek help and ask if what they feel is normal. So, it’s okay not to panic when you get these thoughts. 

These fears can be intense, even if you have nothing wrong. After all, in cases with OCD, you often worry about scenarios that haven’t taken place and are not most likely to ever. But contrary to what common sense might suggest about OCD patients, these people aren’t more likely to commit more crimes than usual. 


Hence, if you are wondering what if OCD fears come true, I suggest you not read too much into these thoughts. Research evidence suggests that people suffering from mental health conditions like OCD are more likely to be victims than actual perpetrators. 

How Do You Manage OCD Fears Away?

There are many categories of OCD. However, there is a general recurring theme that characterizes the disorder. These can be unpleasant thoughts, excessive guilt, doubts, and crushing anxiety. 

The intense intrusive thoughts of OCD can be crippling and interfere with your day-to-day work. If you experience these thoughts excessively, it is probably a good idea to seek professional help. 

But first, this section highlights a few strategies that might help you lessen your OCD fear of going to jail and other sorts of fears, too. 

Identifying the Intrusive Thoughts

The first step in managing your OCD fears is identifying your intrusive thoughts. You need to understand why these thoughts are disturbing you in the first place. It doesn’t have to mean that something has gone wrong in your nervous system.

Your worries could stem from an external cause that is registered subconsciously in your brain. Identifying and understanding the source of your intrusive thoughts will help you keep these thoughts away easily. 

Attend to These Thoughts

Now, you’ll want to pay close attention to these thoughts. Of what exactly are you afraid? Accepting these thoughts will help you understand your fears better as well. They will no longer seem threatening and lose meaning once you acknowledge them. 

Because your thoughts are fear-based, it’s important not to avoid them. It’s more natural to run away from those that seem scary. But resisting the experience might only make it worse. So, talking yourself through these thoughts should help you rationalize better. 

Making These Thoughts Impersonal

The next step is attempting to stop taking these thoughts personally. Intrusive thoughts of OCD do not have a concrete base, yet people apologize for them anyway. These thoughts do not define you as a person, and the more you let that register, the easier it will get. 

These thoughts will likely happen anyway. So, rather than fearing what hasn’t happened, it’s better to focus on your present. 

Talking About Your Fears Out Loud

It is incredible how our thoughts can seem pointless once we voice them aloud. Use your support system and let them know what you might be going through. 

Having someone you can talk to can be a blessing in many ways. Choose the person you may want to confide in very carefully. Then you can consider talking to them every time these thoughts threaten to plague your mind. 

Get Therapy

Should none of these techniques work for you, therapy is the best alternative. OCD is a common mental health condition. There are several resources and experts that specialize in treating OCD. 

One of the best kinds of therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This particular therapy option seems to be effective for 70% of the cases of OCD and complex PTSD. It’s vital, however, that you consult an actual therapist or psychiatrist before seeking out such treatment options. 


However intrusive your thoughts may seem at times, it’s important to remember that you may not have OCD. Only having intrusive thoughts isn’t a marker of an accurate diagnosis. Fear of getting OCD may result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Getting a proper diagnosis will help you understand your case a lot better. If you fear that you may have OCD, it’s best to visit your primary caregiver and seek treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the fear of going to jail for OCD?

Fear of going to jail OCD describes an irrational fear of going to jail. It could also result from breaking the law knowingly or unknowingly and resulting in jail time. Most people have this fear despite committing no crimes. It is unlikely that these fears will ever come true.

  1. Is fear a symptom of OCD?

Yes, irrational fear is a significant symptom of OCD. These fears could be about anything. For example, fear of getting dirty is an OCD disorder. People with OCD may also fear blasphemy, violent acts against others, and doubts about doing everyday tasks wrong. 

  1. How do I let go of the fear of OCD?

As this article mentions in the previous sections, constantly fearing getting OCD may develop into the condition. If you’re experiencing intrusive thoughts, the best thing to do is to accept these thoughts. Doing so would take the threat out of these thoughts. Besides, the tips mentioned earlier will also help. 

  1. How crippling is OCD?

OCD is crippling if you leave it without treatment. It can sometimes take years of silent suffering for several people before seeking professional help. It’s often so because they feel embarrassed about their condition. But symptoms vary widely from one individual to another, and OCD is very treatable. 

Final Words

So, do OCD fears come true? Do you have a fear of going to jail or OCD? The best thing you could do is to consult a professional. Arriving at conclusions without medical expertise could do you more harm than good. But it’s best to not worry about these things too much as everyone has irrational fears to some extent. Until next time, take care and be well.

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