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LIVE SCIENCE on ROCD
OCD takes millions of different forms, as unique as each individual. It is not limited to contamination,
washing, checking, cleaning, symmetry, or setting things in order that you see on TV or read about in books and magazines.
It can also take the form of hypochondriasis, hoarding, unwanted aggressive or sexual thoughts (straight, gay, lesbian).
scrupulosity, religious or blasphemous thoughts, body dysmorphic, counting, reviewing, fear of being a sexual predator, jealousy
that ones mate is unfaitful or will abandon you, checking one's own bodily functions (blinking, swallowing, breathing,
pulse, etc.), and many more. Below are descriptions of just some of the types of OCD:
Contamination: Fear that something has become contaminated (by germs, dirt,
asbestos, chemicals, or contaminiated just by an evil superstitious thought) and that either the person or loved ones
will be contaiminated in turn. Sometimes contamination OCD can also take the form of feeling disgusted by contact, without
any fear or danger associated. Often people feel compelled to clean, wash, launder, throw out, or isolate "contaminated"
Hypochondriasis: An exaggerated obsessive worry about one's
health (in the absence of supporting medical evidence), leading to compulsive looking up medical information, visits to doctors,
odd diets, or reassurance seeking from others. With Hypochondriasis OCD, ordinary physiological sensations can be misinterpreted
as cancer, heart disease, ulcer, and numerous other illnesses.
Hoarding: Collecting, buying, or failure to discard possesions. Sometimes
hoarding OCD can also take the form of never using items for fear of "damaging" them. Frequently, hoarders will
prevent others from moving or tampering with their belongings for fear they won't be able to find important things in
case they need them.
HOCD (Doubts about Sexual Orientation): Unwanted gay or lesbian thoughts or doubts
about one's sexual identity. With HOCD, sufferers often check whether they get aroused by a variety of same-sex situations,
in effect testing their sexual orientation.
ROCD: Relationship OCD, fear or jealousy that one's mate or oneself will cheat,
abandon, be unfaithful, leave, desert, engage in infidelity, not really feel love, or be unfaithful (girlfriend, boyfriend,
wife, husband, spouse, partner, etc.). Relationship OCD sufferers might compulsively check their mate's whereabouts,
social interactions, tone of voice, telephone calls, set up tests to see if there mate loves them, etc.
Others doubt their own love for the other person, and fear that they themselves will be unfaithful and cheat.
This makes them feel guilty and they compulsively test their attraction to their partner, or end the relationship
only to return shortly after. This can be repeated several times.
Sexual Thoughts: Sexual OCD sufferers experience upsetting sexual obsessions about inappropriate targets such
as family members, children, married people, animals, or assault a victim. They fear that they might become a pedophile, rapist,
molester, adulterer, promiscuous, pervert, pornographer, fetishist, paraphiliac, or deviant. Sexual OCD sufferers compulsively
check their arousal levels to these targets to test whether they are normal.
Religious OCD: Sufferers of religious OCD have exaggerated guilt about what
they perceive as sin, unethical behavior, blasphemous or sacrilegious thoughts, ordinary fleeting questions about their faith,
etc. They often, though not always, fear divine punishment. The person engages in compulsive religiosity (beyond what
they themselves regard as normative), such as repetitive praying or seeking reassurance from clergy or others.
Scrupulosity OCD: A
sufferer with scrupulosity OCD may engage in compulsive over-responsibility, such as checking whether they received the right
amount of change, asking if they hurt others' feelings, frequently
apologizing or justifying their behavior, removing minor
obstacles on the sidewalk, or warning people about minor "dangers."
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD): The Body Dysmorphic (BDD) OCD sufferer has
a distorted negative image of their body, compulsively covering up, over-grooming, or checking a particular part of their
body or appearance (hair, fat, skin, teeth, birth marks, face shape, eyebrows, etc.) BDD can sometimes also be experienced
as an imagined body odor. Many people with BDD are misdiagnosed as having an eating disorder like anorexia. Although
they might look the same, their causes and treatments are very different.
"Pure O" Obsessional OCD: "Pure O" (purely obsessional)
OCD is really a misnomer and an often used but obsolete term. With Pure O, the OCD sufferer thinks they have only obsessions
and not compulsions. In reality, so called Pure O sufferers have internal mental compulsions, usually self-reassurance, rather
than behavioral compulsions. Pure O sufferers try to talk themselves out of their worry, answer an unanswerable question,
or ask others to reassure them.
Email Dr. Brodsky now with your questions and get a reply in the next 24 hours. sjbrodsky (at) aol.com