Most people have random intrusive thoughts every now and again. But, if you have OCD, these tend to be persistent. It might be hard to let go of them, too.
With OCD, you might be so disturbed by an intrusive thought that you keep thinking about it. Thoughts, images, and urges can become increasingly persistent and disturbing. Persistent, disturbing thoughts are considered obsessions.
With OCD, those obsessions can take on different “themes.” This means you tend to have the same or very similar obsessions.
Common OCD themes include:
- contamination OCD, which involves thoughts related to cleanliness
- scrupulosity or religious OCD, which is about ethical and religious “correctness”
- sexual orientation OCD, when you keep second-guessing your sexual preferences
- real event OCD, where you have obsessive thoughts about past events
- harm OCD, where you fear you’ll hurt yourself or others
Suicidal OCD can be considered a kind of harm OCD.
Someone who has obsessions about ending their life doesn’t necessarily want to act on those thoughts. In fact, suicidal thoughts become an obsession because the person finds these thoughts so distressing they can’t stop thinking about them.
It’s not always easy to distinguish between suicidal ideation and suicidal obsessions. Discussing these images and thoughts with a mental health professional can help you understand them better and come up with ways to manage them.
What is pure-O OCD?
Pure-O OCD, or pure obsessional OCD, involves both formal symptoms of OCD: obsessions and compulsions.
Compulsions are rituals or repetitive actions that people with OCD do to relieve some of the distress obsessions cause. Compulsions might involve mental rituals, mentally repeating mantras, or self-reassurance.
In pure-O OCD, however, compulsions tend to be less obvious or less frequent, while obsessions are dominant.