What is Pure O?
Quite often Pure O (which stands for Pure Obsession or Purely Obsessional), because of its definition, is described as a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that does not have compulsions. Instead, Pure O is said to only involve intrusive thoughts, called obsessions.
In addition, many people categorize Pure O by the types of obsessions that are present in Pure O sufferers. For instance, violent and sexual obsessions are often considered as Pure O type thoughts.
In reality, Pure O is much closer to regular, everyday OCD than most people think.
Sufferers of Pure O continue to perform compulsions. The difference is that they are covert, as opposed to overt compulsions. An OCD sufferer who washes their hands 50 times a day exhibits overt compulsions — they can be seen by other people. Pure O sufferers have covert compulsions. They aren’t visible to other people because they take place only in the mind of the sufferer.
Pure O compulsions include trying to cancel out an obsession, ruminating (over thinking a thought or situation) and other mental rituals such as trying to counter an intrusive thought with a different, better thought. In addition, Pure O sufferers will often perform other compulsions, such as reassurance seeking and avoidance of people. places or things.
The misconceptions about Pure O could lead to delayed treatment for some sufferers, who believe they have no compulsions and therefore cannot be helped through traditional therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and its emphasis on resisting/stopping compulsions.
Pure O sufferers are just like other sufferers of OCD. There are both obsessions and compulsions present.