Pure Obsessional OCD (Pure O)
So what is Pure “O” OCD? It is when we have obsessions without the physical compulsions of traditional OCD. These obsessions usually present themselves as intrusive thoughts, images or urges. The reason this is so distressing is because these thoughts usually go against who we are, or what we believe to be right and moral. They are usually violent or sexual in nature and leave us worried that we may actually be capable of acting some of these thoughts out. Due to the distress and upset caused by these thoughts, many with pure “o” will try to avoid any triggers for their thoughts. If they find it happens most when they are driving, they will stop doing that. They will even avoid entire topics or thoughts that have caused an intrusive thought or image in the past. This can be very debilitating and make it very difficult for us to live our lives.
Since these thoughts are upsetting and usually violent or sexual, it can also cause some other cognitive compulsions, like rumination. Once we have had these thoughts or images, we then can’t stop worrying that we are possibly bad or capable of doing these things. Our mind will argue back and forth causing extreme anxiety. But don’t fret, there are treatment options! Lots of them! CBT is a treatment great option, as well as CT (cognitive therapy). These are great because they help us change those terrifying thought cycles that we can get stuck in (rumination as well as avoidance). Also, there is exposure and response prevention therapy or ERP. This helps us be around triggering events or topics and slowly calm ourselves down without using our compulsion. It slowly lessens the anxiety around the obsession and removes the power is has over us.
Many people report that SSRI’s or SNRI’s have helped them, so if you are interested in this, please see a psychiatrist to see if this is an option for you. Lastly, there is a new therapy option called ACT or acceptance and commitment therapy that was created specifically for pure “o” OCD.
Here is more info on that: https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/expert-opinion-what-is-act/