Different Types of OCD

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a severe type of anxiety disorder where a person is bothered by frequent uncontrollable thoughts which are followed by compulsive actions to get rid of the thoughts. Being an anxiety syndrome, OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder leads to high amount of distress and discomfort. It can affect all age groups from children to adult irrespective of gender, social and cultural backgrounds. Due to its extreme potential to debilitate and disable a person, WHO ranked it in the top 10 list of diseases that disables a person with respect to lowered quality of life and no earnings. OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can vary from person to person based on the type of obsessive thoughts they have. Let us have a look at the different types of the disorder.

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Different Types of OCD

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts and ritualized and repetitive behaviours. Obsessions are uncontrollable thoughts, impulses or images that recur irrespective of the desire of the person to avoid them. Compulsions, on the other hand, are the actions, behaviours or rituals a person performs to get rid of the obsessions. Obsessive compulsive disorder can be of various types depending on the kind of obsession a person has. The different types of OCD are as follows:

  • Constant Checking Type of OCD: Talking of Constant Checking, people suffering from such fear will constantly keep a check over various things to prevent any kind of damage. Like they would lock or unlock the doors to prevent any burglar barging in or keep checking the stove burners to avoid any kind of explosion or keeping a constant check over the appliances to stop any kind of short circuit and much more. Although, checking such things is good but, when the fear starts to hamper the normal functioning of the person and debilitates his day-to-day life, it is regarded as OCD.
  • Intrusive Thoughts: Sufferers of this form or type of OCD happen to visualize some or the other image in mind that is disturbing to them. At times, it happens that these images are based on a specific event or even without a reason. Such thoughts become so obsessive that patients act negatively. Here, it means that the person might shun away from the person, whom he or she thinks to be harming them. With fears constantly troubling the person, there is a need to visit doctors.
  • Hoarding Type of OCD: It is all about keeping old possessions intact to such an extent that they might not get damaged or lost. Fear of losing them invites the problem of hoarding. Definitely, hoarding is considered as the inability of a person to discard unwanted stuff from home or office. Not only this, the person also tends to buy things that might not to essential out of fear that he might someday need it.
  • Fear of Contamination Type of OCD: This is an essential part of OCD, which describes about the fact that patients experience the fear of getting surrounded by dirt and germs. Many times, they might think that their hands are dirty and full of germs and keeps on washing them. Also, it is quite possible that sufferers think that their home has dirt everywhere; even, if it is not. They will keep cleaning home at regular intervals to ensure spic and span environment. When this fear of contamination grows, sufferers end up roaming around with a cleaning cloth in home.
  • Symmetry: The problem of having everything inline and symmetrical is the biggest issue with this type of OCD. It is because sufferers happen to spend a lot of time in getting the things to perfect. This may delay their other appointments and tasks creating chaotic situations. And such compulsive disorder can make a person physically and mentally drained. Obviously, this requires proper medical attention and right kind of treatment for a better living.

Having More than One Type of OCD Together

In one of the rare chances, it is quite possible for the person to have more than one type of OCDs. This means that a person with the fear of contamination of germs might also have an extreme fear of falling ill and thus performs the compulsive act of washings hands and cleaning home. To make the situation worst, the fear of falling ill and also accompany fear of mortality due to disease and thus the person refrains from doing things or going out.

The people living with a variety of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder feel their life to be disruptive. They stop socializing and isolate themselves from friends or even relatives. Some of the sufferers try to cope up with the situation alone; but, as the problem aggravates, the symptoms are quite visible and such they act awkwardly in the public places too.

Can the Type of OCD Influence Treatment Method?

Definitely, every type of OCD has its own way of treatment and medication that cannot be combined together. As the type changes the method of treatment also changes. At times, it becomes very difficult to treat OCD because of the acute conditions. For this purpose, mental health professionals have to combine the treatment process with different types of therapies and medication to fight OCD and its possible causes of coming back. OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a brain disorder that needs to be tackled carefully with right kind of cure procedure, perhaps combining more than one method.

Symptoms of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

When it comes to identifying the symptoms of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, they can be classified into two categories:

  • Obsessive Thoughts:

Basically stating, the obsessive symptoms call for the recurrence of images, thoughts and ideas that are unwelcomed and not appreciated. They are quite distressing and tend to cause severe anxiety. The occurrence of the thoughts is very high in frequency. In fact, the obsessions just do not go away and are quite hard to treat. Some of the prominent symptoms are:

  • Recurrent annoying ideas
  • Fear of contagion
  • Antagonistic impulses
  • Obstinate sexual thoughts
  • Haunting pictures of hurting someone you love
  • Thoughts of harming others and oneself
  • Thoughts that they have done something wrong
  • Checking sexuality and constant sexual thoughts.
  • Compulsive Behavior:

Ideally, compulsions are said to be the actions or behaviours that are carried out to avoid the obsessive thoughts. However, the thoughts don’t fade away even after that and leads to tremendous amount of frustration and anger. Some of the symptoms identified in this section are:

  • Continuous checking
  • Continual counting
  • Repeating doing things
  • Frequent cleaning of one or more items
  • Repetitively washing your hands
  • Organizing items to face a specific way
  • Praying and seeking forgiveness
  • Short and Long-term Effects of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The patient or sufferer having OCD tends to come across various forms of short or long-term abnormalities. Sometimes, they may experience inability in functioning properly as a part of the society, which includes isolation from visiting public places or inability to communicate properly or even doing absurd deeds in the society. Along with this, maintaining an efficient relationship in the long run or friendship might turn out to be troublesome. Apart from these short-term effects, there are long-term ones that call for depression, anxiety and a high risk of substance abuse. The long-term effects are mostly due to low quality of life.


Any type of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is the most dreadful thing in one’s life that has an ability of affecting the brain nerves, which pressurizes to get engulfed by anxiety and fear. OCD can be seriously debilitating and thus immediate medical attention must be asked for either by the patient or the family members to prevent extreme consequences.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 2, 2018

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