We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Pure OCD?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 25, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pure OCD or purely obsessional OCD is a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like all OCD types it has components of obsessing — thinking about things beyond what is reasonable — and compulsion. The compulsion aspect of purely obsessional OCD is frequently missed because people with this condition are compelled to think, research, or imagine in a compulsive way in addition to dealing with repeated and disturbing thoughts. In other words, compulsion is often cognitive instead of a series of observable and unusual behaviors like obsessive handwashing. Sometimes this type of OCD looks like extreme worry or generalized anxiety disorder, and even seasoned clinicians have missed appropriately diagnosing it at first.

There are many obsessional themes that might be the focus of someone with pure OCD. An affected person might constantly verify the state of a relationship. He could spend hours worrying if he’s in love, and if he’s loved, and repeatedly question whether the relationship is appropriate or worthwhile. Other times people become concerned with their sexual orientation, and will constantly wonder if they are heterosexual or homosexual. Some obsessive thoughts can occur along religious lines, where despite strong religious feelings, sacrilegious ideas might constantly intrude.

Additional sources of obsession might occur in a person with pure OCD. Some sufferers of this condition worry endlessly that they might hurt themselves or hurt others. Another common theme is a strong sense of guilt over what the sufferer thinks are failures. In other instances, a person could be most concerned that she’ll develop ill health or specific medical conditions.

When obsessional thoughts occur, the person with pure OCD may spend hours to days tortured by the thoughts, going to significant effort to try to understand and get rid of them. Ridding the self of these thoughts could take a variety of forms. People may endlessly question themselves about the truth of what they think, they might question others or repeatedly ask for forgiveness, they could ask for tests that prove or disprove thoughts (most common with medical pure OCD), or they might read and research to determine if what they think is plausible. Someone with pure OCD who is obsessed with avoiding pregnancy might over and again take pregnancy tests after sexual encounters, even if they have the evidence of several negative tests and practice safe sex.

It is easy to see from these descriptions why pure OCD doesn’t always get diagnosed immediately. People may just seem overly anxious and worried, but continued therapy would hopefully demonstrate that compulsive behaviors are a feature of the illness. Given the right diagnosis, there are a variety of ways to treat this condition.

Pure OCD often responds well to behavioral therapies, and some people benefit from medication, too. Behavioral therapy is almost always the first requirement of treatment because through it, people can learn ways to minimize negative thinking patterns and compulsive response. This may ultimately bring freedom from the condition or pronounced symptom reduction.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.