OCD comes in many forms and is a complex disorder. While people often associate OCD with repetitive hand washing or excessive cleaning, it is much more than that. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, causes difficulty in the lives of those who suffer from it. Patients experience uncontrollable negative thoughts, called obsessions, and engage in unrealistic rituals or acts, called compulsions, in an attempt to counteract them. Research suggests that 2.3% of the global population suffers from OCD, although pure O is still a rare form of the disorder. Unfortunately, there is minimal awareness of the many types of OCD that exist. This article aims to demystify pure O OCD.
What is Pure O OCD? How is it different from traditional OCD?
Pure O OCD, also known as pure obsessional OCD, can be difficult to manage and causes extreme mental distress for the patient. It is important to understand the details of pure O OCD in order to raise awareness about it and help those who suffer from it.
To understand how pure O OCD differs from traditional OCD, it is necessary to know the symptoms of both disorders. Pure O OCD is characterized by uncontrollable intrusive thoughts that may cause extreme fear. In an attempt to get rid of these thoughts, the patient performs mental compulsions that are not visible to others.
In contrast, patients with typical OCD engage in acts or rituals to get rid of their unwanted intrusive thoughts. For example, a patient with a fear of germs may feel the need to wash their hands excessively, which may seem strange to others.
One key difference between the two forms of OCD is the type of compulsions or acts performed. In pure O, the compulsions are mental, while in typical OCD, they are visible to others.
It is important to note that patients suffering from pure O may be unaware that it is a mental disorder, and may even believe that their intrusive thoughts are true.
The characteristics of pure O OCD
Pure O OCD is a complex mental disorder that exhibits distinct characteristics when compared to typical OCD. One of the most notable differences is the nature of intrusive thoughts that patients experience. These intrusive thoughts are often frightening and can play tricks on the victim’s mind, making them believe that the thoughts are real.
The intrusive thoughts in Pure O OCD are usually in direct contrast to the true nature of the patient. Patients may experience embarrassing, shameful, or violent thoughts that they fear acting upon. Due to the fear of judgment and stigma, people who suffer from Pure O OCD often keep these thoughts to themselves and continue performing mental compulsions to try and suppress them.
The constant preoccupation with these thoughts can consume the patient’s day, causing significant distress and anxiety. These thoughts may seem trivial or nonsensical to others, but to those with OCD, they feel very real. The anxiety associated with these thoughts can be overwhelming and can sometimes lead to depression.
It is essential to recognize and understand the characteristics of Pure O OCD to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of both, with the goal of reducing anxiety and minimizing the impact of intrusive thoughts on the patient’s life.
What are the different types of Pure O OCD?
Pure O OCD, like typical OCD, encompasses several types, although the primary nature of OCD remains constant. Each subtype has distinct themes or content that are distressing to the sufferer. While there is insufficient research on some of the lesser-known subtypes, the types of pure O are outlined below.
- Harm OCD: Harm OCD patients experience intrusive thoughts of harming people, particularly those they love. They develop an extreme fear that they may harm their loved ones, although this is not true. The intrusive thoughts are responsible for making them believe so. For instance, a gentle person may experience intrusive thoughts of stabbing their parents with a knife, while a mother may have sudden thoughts of choking her newborn baby to death.
- Homosexual OCD (HOCD): HOCD patients fear that they may be homosexual even though they are straight. They have intrusive thoughts of turning into gays, which brings extreme shame or disgust. As a result, they avoid interacting with the same gender due to the fear of turning homosexual. HOCD affects men more than women.
- Pedophilia OCD (POCD): Patients with POCD have recurring thoughts of being sexually attracted to children. They tend to avoid children out of fear of getting attracted to them.
- Relationship OCD: In this OCD, patients doubt their relationships with their partners. They believe that they are not good enough for their partners and often doubt if they are genuinely in love. This causes immense emotional pain to the sufferers and can ruin healthy romantic relationships.
The intrusive thoughts experienced by OCD patients are entirely false and go against their nature. They will never act on them. However, OCD takes control over their minds, and these thoughts go on a loop until they decide to seek professional help.
What are mental compulsions?
People with OCD perform mental acts or rituals, similar to physical compulsions, in an attempt to get rid of unwanted intrusive thoughts. Regrettably, these acts do not work and only worsen the OCD, trapping sufferers in a never-ending cycle. The types of mental compulsions are similar, with only the content differing.
- They seek reassurance from others, which may provide temporary relief. However, the thoughts return after a while, and the amount of reassurance does not satisfy them. They keep seeking more reassurance.
- They constantly search the internet to check if their thoughts are true.
- They avoid certain people or places that trigger their thoughts.
These are some common compulsions that patients engage in, which provide temporary relief before they return to square one.
It is essential to note that OCD requires professional help from therapists, and many people do not seek help, assuming that it will go away on its own.
How to manage Pure O OCD?
To manage Pure O OCD, it is important to recognize and cope with the symptoms effectively. While the disorder cannot be completely cured, it can be managed with the right measures.
The first step is to understand the nature of the thoughts and realize that they have no power. Patients should stop taking reassurances and searching the internet, as this only makes the OCD stronger. It is important to accept the thoughts as they are and not try to suppress them. Deep breathing exercises and maintaining a journal to note down the frequency and severity of thoughts can also be helpful.
In terms of treatment options, a combination of medication and therapy can be effective. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help patients understand what goes on inside their OCD brain and provide relief from the painful experience. The use of medications such as SSRIs can also be helpful in reducing symptoms.
Living with Pure O OCD can be extremely difficult and can prevent patients from living life to the fullest. However, there is hope with the right measures and actions. It is important for patients to seek help from therapists and not suffer in silence. By understanding and managing the symptoms effectively, people can free themselves from this debilitating mental disorder.