The 33-year-old O'Driscoll has enjoyed a glittering career with both club and country, but his comments about the World Cup suggest he will hang up his boots at the end of the 2013/2014 season.
O'Driscoll was at the the RWC 2015 pool draw in London as Ireland were pitted against France and Italy, and the Leinster star does not expect to play any part in the tournament.
"It's weird, coming in I was very relaxed, no pressure's on it because I don't for a second anticipate that I'll have any involvement (in the World Cup)," he told the Irish Independent.
"But something stirs you deep down. I think it's probably 18 months too far."
A string of injuries have forced O'Driscoll to spend long spells on the sidelines and he knows there will come a time when his body cannot take more punishment.
"I don't know because I haven't even wanted to contemplate next year because I'm not playing. It's hard to talk about that (when likely to retire) when you're not playing.
"So when I get into Six Nations camp, hopefully I'll get back playing and see how that works out, see how the body feels.
"It's funny, I was sitting there today and still I was enthusiastic. A little bit of you is resigned to the fact that you're not going to be there, but it doesn't mean you don't want to be.
"It's just the body can only last so long and we'll see how much longer I can get out of it. If I'm still at the level I need to be at to play international rugby, I'll continue playing because I still enjoy it.
"But I need to know when to call it a day as well, I need to listen to this (his body)."
O'Driscoll hopes to recover from ankle surgery in time for the Six Nations campaign, but he is more pessimistic about his chances of featuring in the British and Irish Lions tour next summer.
"I think it's fair to say I'm not going to make it. If I did, I'd be as shocked as you would be, so it's best if I just say, no, it's highly unlikely," he said.
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