Subsets of OCD (Scrupulosity, Relationship, Safety)

Praying

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a debilitating neuropsychiatric condition that can result in significant distress and daily disruptions for those affected. When people think of OCD, certain habits often come to mind first: compulsive hand washing, checking, counting, cleaning and checking again. If you can think of OCD in terms of froyo flavors, these behaviors would be considered garden variety vanilla. This is because OCD can manifest in a range of subsets, many of which are not as easily recognizable as obsessive behavior. Let’s discuss a few subsets of OCD.

Scrupulosity in OCD: Religion, Faith, Morals and Belief

Scrupulosity is a subset of OCD that results in profound feelings of anxiety and guilt related to religion, beliefs, morals and ethical failure. Many people consider their spirituality and religious practices their life purpose. This subset can haunt people of numerous religions – and even those who do not affiliate with a religion – causing them to doubt their self-worth, faith and spirituality. Ultimately, those affected by Scrupulosity attempt to follow specific rules or doctrines closely and view their unwanted thoughts and tormented behaviors as a direct violation of their spiritual beliefs. A few examples of common obsessions associated with Scrupulosity are:

  • I experienced unwanted sexual thoughts in church, this means that I’m a sinner
  • I experienced unwanted mental images about Satan, this means I’m going to hell
  • I’ve offended God, this means I’m going to be condemned to eternal punishment in hell

Relationship OCD: You Found “The One”… or Maybe Not?

Relationship OCD (ROCD) is a subset of OCD that gives an entirely new meaning to the term “cold feet.” While it is natural for couples embarking on marriage to feel anxious and sometimes hesitant about making a life-changing decision, those suffering from ROCD deeply obsess about the true nature of their love for their partner. This commonly arises in otherwise healthy relationships (so as you may have guessed, it’s often misdiagnosed) and can be damaging enough to impact the long-term stability of the relationship. A few examples of common obsessions associated with ROCD are:

  • If I don’t constantly think about my partner, am I really in love?
  • What if my partner isn’t “the one” for me?
  • I found someone other than my partner attractive, this must mean I’m not sexually attracted to them anymore and that we aren’t compatible

Harm OCD: Violence and Safety

Harm OCD is a subset of OCD that involves intrusive, violent thoughts. Those affected often catastrophize their unwanted feelings, leading to the belief that they are violent, irrational, and unsafe to be around. They often feel guilty and unpredictable, so to ensure the safety of others, they turn to the avoidance of social gatherings or being around loved ones. A few examples of common distortions associated with Harm OCD are:

  • I experienced a violent thought, which means I am a danger to society
  • My violent thought involved a knife, so I can’t hold a knife or I may stab someone
  • It’s not safe for me to go to that social event, I might snap and kill someone

Need Help with OCD? Contact CBT Solutions of Baltimore Today

CBT Solutions of Baltimore provides psychological services to adolescents (aged 8 years and up) and adults in the Greater Baltimore region, specifically specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for fear, worry, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive spectrum conditions. We specialize in many CBT techniques, including Exposure Therapy, Habit Reversal Training, Cognitive Therapy and more. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.

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