Types of OCD: Covering the different types of OCD

Types of OCD

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Generally speaking, there are many different types of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), with plenty more sub-types of the disorder. Usually, a persons OCD will be classed as either “Checking OCD”, “Contamination OCD”,  ”Intrusive thoughts OCD”, “Hoarding OCD” or “Symmetry OCD”.

Checking OCD

A compulsive need to perform “checks” on things multiple times, the amount varies per person but has been known to go into the hundreds, which counts as a rather serious case of checking OCD and would literally drive you round the bend.

Compulsions take place usually to prevent the perceived threat of harming someone or causing damage. Examples would be the need to check if the persons front door is locked, or that they have turned the gas off.

The constant checking can result in the suffer not leaving their home, due to the time spent and mental exhaustion of performing their compulsions.

Sub types of checking OCD:

  • Gas and electrical items
  • Taps
  • Doors and locks
  • Alarms (House, digital)
  • Windows
  • General day to day appliances
  • Lights
  • Reading material (Words, books, letters, cards etc)
  • Routes and paths
  • Wallet, purses and bags
  • People (Constant communication)
  • Reassurance

Contamination OCD

The primary type of OCD that I suffer with. A person suffering with this type of OCD feels compulsions to clean or wash in fear (usually perceived) of being contaminated by germs, viruses and bacteria.

Repetitive hand washing, deep house and object cleaning are a few examples of the compulsions and rituals a suffer will experience.

Constant cleaning can lead to serious mental exhaustion and severe damage to their skin.

Sub types of contamination OCD:

  • Fear of public toilets
  • Contact with chemicals
  • Contact with germs, viruses and bacteria
  • Touch entry points (door knobs, window handles etc)
  • Public items such as telephones, card machines, cash points etc
  • Visiting hospitals and General Practitioners (GPs)
  • Eating and drinking in public houses and restaurants
  • Being in crowded spaces
  • Specific object avoidance (Specific colour objects)
  • Excessive grooming (cleaning, doing hair, makeup, teeth etc)
  • Cleaning generally unsanitised areas such as kitchens and bathrooms

Intrusive thoughts OCD

Often found in sufferer’s of all other primary types of OCD, intrusive thought OCD is where a person will have internal obsessions that can lead onto mental compulsions. These internal “thoughts” are involuntarily and can be as severe as having thoughts about hurting a friend or loved one, or performing an out of the ordinary action towards a stranger, against their own will to want such thoughts.

Intrusive thoughts can make a person feel very abnormal, “mental”, “insane” and extremely uncomfortable in many day to day situations. The onset can usually be triggered by the simplest of situations.

Sub types of intrusive thoughts OCD:

Intrusive thoughts can pretty much be about absolutely anything and are thoughts that are unwanted:

  • Relationships
  • Sexual thoughts, such as performing inappropriate sexual acts
  • Religious
  • Violent
  • Self-harming
  • Believing (Magic, greater beings etc)

Hoarding OCD

Hoarding OCD is where a sufferer accumulates items, often their own possessions to a degree where the persons living space can be taken over by the items.

The hoarding is unnecessary and usually the person will have an abnormal or unique emotional connection with the object. For example, holding onto past memories.

Hoarding can also lead to obsessive spending.

Sub types of hoarding OCD:

  • Difficulty discarding items
    • Due to emotional connections
    • Due to physical connections
    • Due to not feeling the person has anything else in their lives
  • Purchase and keeping of unnecessary items
  • Item organisation issues
  • Obsessional spending

Symmetry OCD Orderlines OCD

Symmetry and orderlines OCD results in the sufferer having compulsions where they must perform some form of ritual that is symmetrical and/or perfectly aligned. The sufferer will feel as if something terrible will happen in failure of symmetry or perfection in order.

Often classed as one of the most time consuming and “perfectionist” compulsive disorders due to the time spent in ensuring everything is to order to set peace against perceived fears. This often becomes detrimental to the day-to-day runnings of the sufferers life, such as being late for class, work and appointments, not to mention the constant drain on emotions and mental capacity.

Sub types of symmetry and orderlines OCD:

  • The need to touch objects with both sides of the body, for example both hands
  • Items in a specific order, for example alphabetical, numerical etc
  • Perfectly aligned objects such as furniture, clothes, books, glasses etc
  • Food placed in particular orders when cooked and served

There is more to the types of OCD than most can comprehend

Sadly, OCD affects millions and millions of people yearly, however, many do not identify OCD until it is usually detrimental to one’s day to day living.

If you feel someone you know has any form of relation to the above types of OCD, why not point them to the list, or “what is OCD?” and ask them to see if they can identify any traits in themselves. As an obvious warning, this may result in unexpected behaviour from the potential sufferer, so introduce it lovingly and with upmost respect for them.

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