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Types of OCD

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Ocd Symptoms Obsession Cleaning Order

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be split into two broad types: obsession and compulsion. Many OCD sufferers have symptoms relating to both obsession and compulsion, although some people 's behaviour sways more towards one than the other. Within the obsession and compulsion sides of OCD, there are several types of OCD, including obsessive thoughts, and compulsions such as checking, washing / cleaning, close attention to order and hoarding. Many OCD sufferers experience symptoms from more than one type of OCD simultaneously, which is one reason why OCD causes its sufferers so much distress and anxiety.


This type of OCD involves repeatedly checking things, for example making sure that doors and windows are locked, and that switches are turned off. This often involves several trips backwards and forwards to make sure that the checking has definitely taken place. This type of OCD often stems from the fear that something bad will happen if this is not done. This type of OCD often involves increasingly complicated checking rituals that take up a significant amount of time each day and have a disruptive effect on day-to-day life.

Washing and Cleaning

This type of OCD involves repeatedly washing your hands and cleaning your clothes. It is often based around a fear of being contaminated by dirt and germs. Despite washing hands and clothes at least several times a day, fear of contamination remains. Sufferers will often go to great lengths to avoid coming into contact with situations they are afraid will expose them to dirt and germs.


This type of OCD involves an almost irrational desire to order things. For example, if an object is not in the desired position, it can create considerable distress to the sufferer and they may spend lots of time making sure that things are in the “perfect” order.


This type of OCD involves repeatedly thinking negative thoughts and images, often related to harming themselves and others. These thoughts and images will often flash into the mind without warning, and often cause sufferers to become very distressed. To detract from the unwelcome intrusions, sufferers often revert to repetition, such as praying, silent counting, chanting and the silent repetition of certain words or phrases.


While most people have no reservations when it comes to getting rid of excess clutter and things that they do not really need or want, this type of OCD involves an inability to throw anything out, including items that are insignificant and of no real value. This often results in an untidy environment that is challenging to live in.

Some of the main types of OCD include obsessions, and compulsions such as checking, washing / cleaning, close attention to order and hoarding. Although there are other types of OCD and sufferers are not restricted to symptoms that fit these main types of OCD, experts suggest that these are types that most OCD sufferers experience. OCD sufferers tend to suffer symptoms at least two types of OCD at any one time, although this is not universal.

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