Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is popularly associated with compulsive behavior, such as the repeated washing of hands or checking if the door was locked. However, when it comes to pure obsessional OCD, it is different because the same type of compulsion or obsession only happens in the thought.
Obsessions Experienced by People with Pure Obsessional OCD
Some of the obsessions experienced by these people involve unwanted and intrusive thoughts, sensations, impulses and images. Basically, such mental intrusions are referred to as ego-dystonic, which will contribute to internal resistance and panic accompanying these thoughts.
Apart from obsessions which take on any subject, here are common categories of obsessions that people with pure obsessional OCD will experience.
1. One having thoughts of harming others or oneself
2. A person conceiving some thoughts of disgusting sexual activities, including incest or pedophilia
3. Any stubborn doubts regarding the sexual orientation of a person
4. Having persistent doubts about their romantic partner
5. A person with antireligious thoughts and
6. Thoughts regarding normally ignored somatic functions, including blinking, breathing, and swallowing.
Treating Pure Obsessional OCD
1. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
Instead of allowing patients to believe that it is an abnormal condition that needs to be fixed, the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy will be able to teach them that internal private experiences are completely normal. So their feeling of having images, urges, uncomfortable thoughts, and sensations will all be part of human experience. This is because it they will view them as problems, patients will feel problematic. The acceptance and commitment therapy is one of this type in which it can help clients to observe their thoughts instead of being attached or overwhelmed by them.
2. Cognitive Restructuring for Clients
Treating pure obsessional OCD can be easier if they can identify their thinking patterns. This technique will be able to help clients to reframe and restructure cognitive distortions. This in turn will give them logical choices regarding how they will response in accordance to their thoughts.
Traditional methods will try to convince clients repeatedly about the absurdity and irrationality that will mimic how they deal with mental compulsions. In cognitive restructuring, this method will teach clients to utilize alternative thoughts to encourage them to handle uncertainty, accept feelings and thoughts, and recognize exposure as the best option.
3. Exposure and Response Prevention
One type of behavioral therapy involves exposure to obsession with avoidance of the nullifying habit. It is referred to as exposure and response prevention (ERP) that uses a method that is structured and hierarchical. One component of this technique is imaginal exposure used to treat pure obsessional OCD. For this reason, it will require the patient to summon a dreaded image and try to hold it in his mind for as long as necessary.
This is intended not for safety or reassurance but for becoming accustomed to move forward in life amid uncertainty. The purpose of ERP is to escalate anxiety levels and keep them high, in which it will eventually fail due to the habituation process. As a result, he or she will finally decondition the anxiety paired to the obsessions.