Types of Obsessions
Are You Married with OCD?
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Do you or your spouse have OCD?
If your answer is yes, then you may be eligible to participate in a paid study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville. Your responses may help therapists better understand how to help married couples in distress because of problems associated with OCD. The payment for participating in this study is $25 ($50 per couple). Your spouse will also have to complete a related questionnaire before you will receive compensation. Click here for more information and to participate in the online paid survey.
Expert Help for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Louisville OCD Clinic
Monnica Williams, Ph.D.
Offering expert treatment for all types of OCD and hoarding. Our OCD treatment program is typically 17 sessions. We offer twice-weekly sessions and intensive programs. Intensive program can be in person or combined with Skype. State of the art medication management is also an option. Low cost options. [More.]
The Worst Kind of OCD
Although people with OCD may obsess over any number of concerns, one of the most upsetting types of OCD involves worries about causing sexual harm to a child, sometimes called pedophile OCD or POCD. Although this type of OCD typically receives little attention from the media, the Power to Change recently aired the story of a man whose POCD was so severe he contemplated suicide before he was treated by Dr. Monnica Williams. Hear his story online and learn about OCD treatments from Dr. L. Kevin Chapman. Read his story or watch it now.
OCD Therapy Going Nowhere?
Although any medical doctor can take your blood pressure, only a few can do heart surgery. Likewise, any therapist can help someone who is feeling a bit blue, but only a few can effectively treat OCD. OCD treatment is a type of therapy that requires a specialized protocol called Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP or EX/RP). Learn about the Top Mistakes Made by OCD Therapists.
Top Seven Myths About OCD
One stereotype is that people with OCD are neat and tidy to a fault. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Although many people with OCD wash because they are concerned about dirt and germs, being tidy is actually not a typical symptom of the disorder. Almost two-thirds of people with OCD are also hoarders... Learn more about the Top Myths about OCD.
Take The OCD Self Test
The OCI-R is a short, reliable, scientific test of common obsessive-compulsive symptoms. This measure was developed by OCD experts. Take our OCD Self Test.
About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessions with Symmetry
Some people with OCD have obsessions surrounding the way objects are arranged. These people may feel very uncomfortable when confronted with situations where objects are misaligned or in disarray. On a related note, some people may be made uncomfortable when something does not appear perfect. They may not be able to tolerate having written something where the letters may be shaped imperfectly. The corresponding compulsions would be ordering and arranging or compulsive corrections. When movies attempt to portray OCD, they often throw in seemingly random behaviors. But it is important for outsiders to remember that even if the OCDer is doing something that appears random, or just crazy, that is never the case. There is always some base reason, even if it seems illogical or magical.
It's Not Just Personality
People with symmetry concerns may be more likely to have other anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. People with this type of OCD typically have an earlier age of onset and are are more likely to have close family members with OCD. It is important to note that while OCPD and OCD appear to have some superficial similarities in concerns, the key difference is that those with OCPD are not stressed or bothered by their thoughts, and cannot even really be called obsessions. Whereas a person with symmetry concerns is caused great distress by their obsessions. This is called for OCD ego-dystonic (OCD obsessions are not considered reasonable, and are foreign and unwelcome) versus ego-syntonic (the thoughts are seen as reasonable and part of ones self). So, to an outsider they may appear similar, or even affect a family member or friend in the same way, but OCD always causes the sufferer more distress than even the most traumatized family member.
Individuals with obsessions about symmetry and exactness may also have magical thinking associated with their concerns. For example, they may worry that their mother will have an accident unless things are in just the right place. Since the OCD thoughts are almost always egodystonic, the person realizes these thoughts are ridiculous. But OCD really is the great "what if" disease, so the obsession may hear the word blind and obsess that if someone doesn’t say "you're not blind" four times they will go blind. They realize that this is ridiculous, but the person usually thinks "I might as well just in case." But by giving into the obsession, it is then fed, and comes back more frequently and stronger. What was once just a simple "what if" becomes hundreds of magical obsessions that then lead to compulsions, which start to take more and more time. This is the progressive snowball effect of OCD.
People with most forms of OCD are usually doing compulsions in response to their obsessions to protect themselves or those around them. It feels ridiculous to arrange something just perfectly so a family member doesn't get cancer, but the OCDer is usually so caring and worried that they don't want to be the cause by just being lazy. It could even go through their mind that it is some magical karma for not caring enough.
Needs to Feel Right
In other cases, the need for symmetry may just "feel right" and not be accompanied by magical thinking (e.g. just makes the person uncomfortable). For instance, a person may scratch one side of their face, but then the other side will feel weird until scratched the same way for the same amount of time. Some non OCD people may have a preference for symmetry, but the OCD will scream for the symmetry in this case, and cause great distraction until satisfied. It is hard for someone without OCD to conceptualize, but if one side of the face has been scratched a good way to understand how distracting it would be to the OCDer is to imagine one sitting in a rock on one side of their body but not the other. This is how much discomfort the nagging need for symmetry can cause.