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How to Deal with Purely Obsessional OCD (Pure O)
Do you feel like you’re constantly living in a nightmare? Are you plagued by thoughts and images that won’t disappear no matter how much you try to ignore them?
If so, then you may be suffering from Purely Obsessional OCD, also known as Pure O. This form of OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts that are often disturbing or violent. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of Pure O and treatment options.
What are some common obsessions in OCD?
Some common obsessions in OCD include fear of contamination, fear of harming oneself or others, excessive doubt, and need for symmetry or order.
Those obsessions appear in the OCD sufferer’s mind all of a sudden and cause a significant amount of distress. Often, the person with OCD realizes that those obsessions do not make any sense. Below are a few examples of the most common habits that individuals with OCD diagnosis experience:
- A general feeling of discomfort about germs: this fear can include the fear of touching public surfaces, door handles, using public restrooms, among others. Disgust from germs that other people might have is a shared OCD obsession. For instance, one might be highly concerned if their future partner has unknown diseases like HIV or the like.
- Fear of whether they might act on their sudden urge and harm themselves or others. As already discussed, these violent urges can appear suddenly in an individual with OCD. Therefore, those individuals are always concerned that they might impulsively, for instance, hit somebody in front of them.
- OCD obsession can also frequently be thoughts about an accident due to negligence. For instance, dropping a cup of hot tea over somebody, turning around, and hitting somebody in a crowded place. Those imaginary accidents can be of any sort and highly disturbing for any OCD sufferer.
- People with this condition often experience sexually intrusive thoughts. Those thoughts include perverse images related to taboo. This can be highly stressful to the sufferer, especially those who are not sexually mature yet. Therefore, they might think that there is something fundamentally wrong with them.
- Individuals diagnosed with OCD also experience obsessions about their health and the health of their close ones. For example, they might fear that they have an incurable disease or will have it in the future. They usually have the same concern for their close ones as well.
What is purely obsessional OCD?
There are different types of OCD, but one of the most common is “Purely Obsessional” or “Pure O.” There are no physical compulsions involved. However, some mental behaviors serve as a relief.
These behaviors temporarily relieve the anxiety the sufferer experience. Many people with this condition are afraid to act on these thoughts, so they obsess over them constantly to keep from acting out these impulses. Individuals with Pure O often keep their obsessions hidden and feel ashamed or embarrassed about them.
Everyday habits in Pure O include fear of harming others, intrusive thoughts about sex or violence, and doubt that one’s thoughts are their own. This subtype of OCD can be highly distressing and lead to significant anxiety and distress.
People may develop mental compulsions in response to these obsessions (which typically involve avoiding situations that could trigger the obsession). An example of this would be a person who fears harming others, staying away from driving so they don’t think they might hit someone.
This fear can lead to extreme isolation and inability to function well in everyday activities (like school, work, family time).Typical examples of common Pure O obsessions that individuals diagnosed with the condition include:
- Fear that they might abuse others when faced with intrusive thoughts.
- Being too anxious that they might harm those around them, or they might wonder if they have already hurt them.
- A horror that God might punish them because of being a terrible person
- High level of concern of becoming seriously ill from holding or touching an imaginary contaminated item.
- People with this type of OCD experience different types of sexually disturbing thoughts, such as questioning their sexuality horror from acting on pedophilic thoughts, among others.
Is Pure O OCD genuine?
Purely obsessional OCD is an anxiety disorder, and it affects people in different ways. As already discussed, people with Pure O experience intrusive thoughts that are disturbing or embarrassing.
A common symptom shared between those with Pure O, and traditional forms of OCD is that people feel overwhelming guilt. This feeling can cause further anxiety and additional stress in individuals because their obsessions are irrational and disturbing.
Therefore, it is essential to address this condition because it can be challenging to know where the “real” thoughts end and the intrusive ones start.
The main difference between Pure O and other forms of OCD is that people tend to experience more intrusive thoughts than those who don’t have purely obsessional OCD.
Furthermore, there are no physical compulsions which is the case with other types of OCD. Thus, some people might wonder whether this is, in fact, an actual type of OCD.
According to medical literature, individuals can be diagnosed with OCD once they show symptoms of either OCD obsessions or OCD compulsions. Considering this information, we can state that pure O is primarily based on obsessions.
However, there is much controversial information about whether pure O is a subtype of OCD. Some medical practitioners believe that this condition doesn’t exist. Instead, they argue that people who have pure O experience mental obsessions with mental compulsions or have GAD(general anxiety disorder) rather.
There is a logical explanation behind both assumptions. Nevertheless, your therapist most likely has been exposed to these controversial opinions and studies. Therefore, they are most knowledgeable about which approach to take while examining your condition and suggesting proper treatment.
What are some OCD types associated with pure O?
We already mentioned that purely obsessional OCD is a subtype of OCD. However, according to a recent study, some individuals with pure O OCD might also have other OCD subtypes.
Some of those OCD subtypes are:
- Harm OCD: The personal experience anxiety about harming themselves or those around them. The most common examples are causing physical harm or sexual.
- Pedophilia OCD (OCD): Sudden intrusive thoughts about sexually explicit actions with children. Most people who experience those images in their heads feel guilty and disgusted. Therefore, they experience numerous compulsions that help them cope with the anxiety.
- Relationship OCD (ROCD): This subtype of OCD includes unusual thoughts that sufferers experience concerning their partner. Namely, they feel unsure about their feelings towards their partner. They often ask themselves whether their life together is meant to be. Feeling insecure even about whether their partner finds them attractive is also a symptom.
- Sexual orientation obsessions in OCD (SO-OCD): Individuals suffering from this type of OCD constantly question their sexuality. They often fear being homosexual and haven’t realized it yet.
All OCD mentioned above types are different and require individual treatment plans. Individuals with those OCD types experience thoughts referred to as aggressive obsessions, making those suffering from the condition fear they will engage in violent acts.
In particular, Pure O sufferers experience violent urges and physical sensations that do not go away. They often have difficulty sleeping due to this problem. The best way for someone diagnosed with Pure O is to get help through psychotherapy and medication management by a psychiatrist specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Pure O OCD vs. Schizophrenia
If you are suffering from intrusive thoughts and images, it can be challenging to know whether or not they’re just a part of OCD or if there is something more serious going on with your mental health.
While some people may have relatively mild obsessions (i.e., worries about germs), others experience hallucinations that feel real (i.e., schizophrenia). So how do you tell the difference between Pure-O OCD symptoms and schizophrenia?
When evaluating whether your symptoms are due to Pure O OCD or schizophrenia, you should realize two main differences between these mental health conditions.
First, individuals diagnosed with OCD suffer from intrusive thoughts and images. These obsessions can be about anything from germs to murder. They may also include compulsions like washing your hands excessively or checking the lock on a door repeatedly before entering it again. Schizophrenia, on the other hand, involves hallucinations (e.g., hearing voices) and delusions that feel real but aren’t true in reality (e.g., believing someone else has control over you).
Second–and this one might surprise you!–people with schizophrenia typically don’t experience obsessive-compulsive behavior at all! Instead of obsessing about something for days or weeks without any relief whatsoever, people with schizophrenia often have racing thoughts and difficulty focusing on anything for very long.
So, suppose you are experiencing intrusive thoughts and images. In that case, it’s essential to seek out help from a qualified professional to determine whether or not they fall within the spectrum of OCD. Many different treatment options can help you manage your symptoms and reclaim your life.
Can Pure O OCD be cured?
Pure Obsessional OCD (Pure O) is a little-understood and often misdiagnosed variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can be challenging to diagnose because the compulsions are not as apparent or obvious to others as other types of OCD.
There are several different treatments available for Pure O. Some people find relief from therapy alone, while others require medication in addition to treatment. There are many kinds of treatment available, so it is crucial to find one that works best for you.
Pure O OCD treatment options include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure-response prevention (ERP), medications such as antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Many people find relief in mindfulness practices, lifestyle changes for stress management, relaxation techniques.
Furthermore, self-help books about helpful strategies from people living with OCD might benefit. In addition to seeking professional help and following your treatment plan, there are further tips for helping you manage your symptoms:
- Be patient and give yourself time to heal. Recovery takes time, and there is no “quick fix” for OCD. Understanding that you are not alone in your journey and that you can reach out to others suffering from the same condition would make things easier.
- Stick with your treatment plan. Don’t skip sessions or stop taking your medication without first talking to your therapist or doctor. Battling OCD symptoms takes time and dedication, and if done the right way, you will see general improvement.
- Become more aware of your thoughts and what triggers them. This awareness will help you better manage your symptoms in the future. Try to keep a journal and note what provoked your thoughts at the specific time. This routine will help you see where you are at in your journey to treating OCD and managing your progress, respectively.
- Talk to your doctor about treatment options. Many medications and therapies can help reduce the symptoms of OCD. Also, joining a support group with people who have the same condition will significantly improve managing the symptoms.
- Practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that helps you change how you think about and respond to situations that trigger your OCD symptoms. Discuss with your therapist the best way to approach your purely obsessional OCD. Therefore, you will have an easier time accepting them and responding to them without frustration in the future.
- Educate yourself about OCD. The more you know about the disorder, the better you will manage it. Read journals attend seminars and webinars aimed at battling OCD symptoms. You can even help others on their journey with OCD. You know the saying that you learn more each time you teach something.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Hopefully, they will help you on your journey to living a healthier life with Pure O OCD. It is a well-known fact that OCD is a complex disorder, and there is no “one size fits all” treatment approach. What works for one person may not work for another.
The important thing is to find what treatments work best for you and to stick with them. If you ever feel like you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. For more information, please consult your doctor or mental health professional. Remember, you are not alone in this struggle, and service is available.
https://beyondocd.org/expert-perspectives/articles/pure-o-fact-or-fiction – prove that pure o OCD is real according to its medical diagnosis criterion and the controversial experience from the therapist that it might be not
https://www.verywellmind.com/pure-o-primarily-obsessional-ocd-4159144 – for the study about other OCD subtypes related to pure o OCD
- About the Author
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Hello, I am Jonas Eriksson. I suffered from severe OCD for many years and have now recovered. My OCD is related to an autoimmune disorder called Autoimmune basal ganglia disorder. Sadly I was undiagnosed for 27 years. The inflammation put my brain to be in a state of constant terror. By sharing helpful information, I hope someone will get motivated to seek treatment and learn more about OCD and related disorders.