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Pure 'O' OCD

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Ocd Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) involves compulsive and obsessional behaviour. Pure Obsessional OCD (known as Pure 'O') differs from traditional obsessive compulsive disorder in that the physical compulsions that are present in “normal” OCD (such as frequent cleaning of the hands and clothes, checking, counting and hoarding) are not present. Instead, Pure 'O' involves numerous forms of obsession, which cause significant distress and anxiety.

How Does Pure 'O' Differ From Traditional OCD?

Pure 'O' relates to the obsession side of OCD, with the emphasis on obsessional behaviour and thoughts. While physical compulsions tend not to exist in the Pure 'O' form of obsessive compulsive disorder, this does not mean that compulsions are not present at all.

Instead of being physical, Pure 'O' compulsions are mental and are often only in existence in the mind as a counterbalance to the distressing obsessional behaviour that also takes place in the mind.

Examples of mental compulsions include sufferers making conscious attempts to block intrusive thoughts and images, and repeatedly reassuring themselves that the thoughts and images are not indicative of their true feelings.

Because of this, the mental rituals that sufferers repeatedly perform are often almost invisible to the outside world, but they are not a lot different to the visible physical compulsions performed by sufferers of traditional OCD, as they cause similar amounts of distress. Sufferers of Pure 'O' often experience thoughts and images about harming themselves or other people, which suddenly enter their minds. This is also a feature of traditional OCD, although sufferers of Pure 'O' tend not to perform any physical compulsions alongside this.

Dealing With Pure 'O'

The intrusive thoughts and images that characterise Pure 'O' cause sufferers a lot of anxiety, as they often fear that they are an evil person. The best way to deal with Pure 'O' and its symptoms is to accept that the intrusive thoughts and images are involuntary and do not make you a bad person.

The immediate reaction is to fight against the thoughts and images, but this is not necessarily the best course of action. As with many mental conditions, it is difficult or even impossible to outwit Pure 'O' with your thinking, and trying to do so can cause more anxiety.

Fighting back can actually make your mind more sensitive to the intrusions, which can in turn increase their frequency and intensity. However, for many Pure 'O' sufferers, training your mind not to immediately fight back is much easier said than done. Although it is difficult to do so, try to accept that the intrusions are going to happen, but they do not mean that you are at risk of acting them out in reality.

Pure 'O' is a different form of obsessive compulsive disorder to traditional OCD. Although compulsions are just as prominent as they are in traditional OCD, they are mental rather than physical, and relate to the obsession side of OCD. Because sufferers of Pure 'O' do not perform physical compulsions, the compulsion side of OCD is not displayed.

Dealing with Pure 'O' is often very difficult as it leads many sufferers to feel that they must be inherently evil, as they fear that the intrusions stem from an unconscious desire to actually carry out the thoughts and images circulating in their minds. This is usually not the case.

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