There are infinite types of OCD, which can impact any thoughts on any subject on any person on any fear and frequently fixate on what’s important in a person’s life. More commonly known OCD includes
1) Harm OCD causes people to be deeply disturbed by aggressive and intrusive thoughts of doing violence to someone. Many individuals may become completely overwhelmed by them.
Obsession examples: “I could stab my husband with this knife” or “what if I killed my nephew and I just can’t remember” or “what if I drove into that person?”
Compulsion examples: 1) keeping all knives hidden away somewhere” 2) calling to check if your nephew is safe and sound 3) repeatedly going back to check if you ran someone over or even avoiding watching videos or shows or news with violence in an effort to keep from triggering violent ideas
Contamination OCD – a more common subtype of OCD where a person experiences obsessive thoughts around fear of contaminating others, being contaminated or contracting and spreading a disease (this also includes emotional contamination which means that one may fear thinking or speaking or reading about an illness will contaminate them)
Obsession examples: “what if my hands are unclean? I just washed them, but they still feel unclean.” Or “what if germs are on the doorknob and I touch it and get sick?” or “how many people used this pen before me?” or “I think my friend transferred her negative emotions to me yesterday when we met, she was in a very bad mood”
Compulsion examples: 1) repetitive actions (repeatedly + excessively washing one’s hands/ showering/ sterilizing objects in a space, using harsh chemicals to stay clean, scraping off skin one thinks might be contaminate) 2) avoidance (one may avoid touching specific objects, taking public transportation, or attending certain social gatherings for fear of being ill)
Sexual orientation OCD
Sexual orientation OCD (HOCD/ homosexual OCD) - involve obsessions about one’s sexuality. It can happen to any sexuality. Individuals who develop obsessive thoughts are plagued by an intense fear and doubt over their long- standing sexual orientation; the sexual obsessions involved in OCD are typically associated with high levels of shame and guilt.
Usually, one’s obsessive gay thoughts are followed with compulsive checking behaviors that allude any evidence as proof that their thoughts and fears are in fact real.
Note: HOCD is not homophobia
Obsession examples: “I was attracted to that guy back there, that means I’m gay” or “other people can detect that deep down I’m into women” or “was I really into her when we dated? Or am I more into guys”
Compulsion examples: 1) looking at pictures of women to see if you’re attracted to them 2) asking people repeatedly if you seem straight to them” or 3) avoiding people of the same sex altogether to avoid confusion
More types of OCD
Paedophilia OCD – a subtype of OCD characterized by obsessive thoughts or images and impulses and compulsive behaviors around unwanted sexual thoughts about children. Some people may be so distressed by these thoughts because they don’t reflect that they really want.
Relationship OCD – this means that it leaves people completely unable to tolerate the uncertainty of intimate relationships, giving them obsessions about the rightness of their own relationship and the countless other possibilities that daily life brings
Just right OCD – this subtype is slightly different, this is due to the reason that it is difficult to identify a specific fear or sets of fear, underlying it. Instead, it’s usually more like a strong feeling that something just isn’t right when things aren’t a certain way. (one of the more caricatured forms of OCD, in TV shows, movies and jokes). It is characterised by ongoing intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours around organisation, perfection and making things feel “just right”; people with just right OCD experience frequent intrusive thoughts around organisation and symmetry.
OCD cannot be cured, but it can be managed effectively with medication, psychotherapy, ERP (exposure and response prevention)
§ Meditation – psychiatric drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (such as Prozac and Lexapro) help many people control obsessions and compulsions, by increasing serotonin levels in your body. Though it takes at least 10-12 weeks of daily intake to notice a change in OCD symptoms, success rate of drug therapy with SSRIs is 40%-60% . however, if symptoms are still present, one’s doctor may give them antipsychotic drugs like aripiprazole or risperidone.
§ Psychotherapy – cognitive behavioral therapy can help change your thinking pattern, it focuses on identifying and changing negative feelings about yourself to help you change unhelpful responses and behaviors; mindfulness teaches one to observe their feelings and thoughts in an objective manner while CBT teaches one to identify, label and reframe your thoughts
§ Exposure and response prevention - one’s doctor would put them in situations designed to create anxiety or set off compulsions, this allows one to lessen and stop their OCD thoughts or actions, and is the most effective therapy to treat OCD according to Dr Boduran – Turner, this is because it teaches the brain how to respond differently to obsessions by tolerating anxiety and discomfort that come with them.
More types of treatment
- Relaxation (simple things like meditation, yoga and massage can help with stressful OCD
- Neuromodulation – when treatment and meditation aren’t working, one’s doctor may suggest devices that change the electrical activity in a certain area of your brain. It uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells, electrodes will also be implanted in your head
- TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) – a non-invasive device that is held above the head to induce the magnetic field. (targets a specific part of the brain that regulates symptoms of OCD)
Only professionals and trained therapists can diagnose OCD. After physical exam and blood tests to confirm that not something else is causing one’s symptoms, they will talk to one about their feelings, thoughts and habits, while verifying if one has
2) Does compulsive behaviors
3) Obsessions and compulsions take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person value such as working, going to school or spending time with friends
When two diagnosis occur in the same individual, they are referred to as “comorbid disorders”, according to the most recent, large scale community study on mental health in adult sin United States, 90% of the adults who reported OCD at some point in their lives also has at least one other comorbid condition.
Disorders that may coexist with OCD:
· Major depressive disorder
· Bipolar disorders
· Attention – deficit / hyperactivity disorder
· Eating disorder
· Autism spectrum disorder
· Tic disorders
· Body dysmorphic disorder – one may perform repetitive checking (on how they look) and reassurance about their looks
· Hoarding disorder – one may spend a great deal of time preoccupied with arranging, ordering and/ or collecting items
· Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) – one may be severely affected by an overwhelmingly urge repeatedly pull out their hair, resulting in repetitive hair pulling and subsequent hair loss (the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows and beard can all be affected); this can cause significant emotional distress and often impairs social and occupational functioning
· Excoriation (skin pulling) disorder – one may be affected by repeated picking at one’s skin which result in skin lesions and cause significant disruption in one’s life. Individuals may pick at healthy skin and minor skin irregularities, lesions or scabs.
Note: if you think you are suffering from OCD, please do not be afraid to seek help, since it is important to have all the guidance and support available for you. There’s hotlines and resources in our bio to help if needed.
Slide 10: Sources