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3 - Types and Presentation of OCD

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2022

Lynne M. Drummond
Affiliation:
South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust
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Summary

Obsessive compulsive disorder can present in many forms, but the most common symptoms of OCD feature one or more of a number of ‘themes’. These themes will be described in detail and illustrated with examples of people’s personal experience. The main themes are:

  • Contamination fears

  • Fear of harm to others due to failure to act appropriately

  • Fear of harm to self or others due to your own actions (or thoughts)

  • Perfectionism

  • Worry about losing something

  • Symmetry

  • Slowness

  • Ruminations

The idea of ‘magical thinking’, whereby a person fears that by thinking a thought they make it more likely to occur, will also be described. Thought–action fusion, whereby a thought is believed to be morally equivalent to an action, will also be examined.

The final part of this chapter will examine other conditions which can occur alongside OCD, including physical complications arising from self-neglect such as infection. Other psychological problems and their relationship with OCD will also be explored and will include examination of depression, anxiety disorders, the obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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