6 Types of OCD

Today I’ll write about the 6 different types of OCD that I identified (and experienced) in the last couple of years. As you may have read in my previous posts, I’m not a psychologist, so I was relying my own experience – and if you think there are any other items that I could add to my list, feel free to share it in the comment section.

So, let’s see the different types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that I’ve come across so far:

Fear of contamination:

It’s totally normal to worry about your health, but some people take this to a whole new level. Have you ever been scared to death that you might contract HIV from touching a handrail or that unwashed fruits and vegetables might kill you or your loved ones?

I guess contamination OCD may be one of the most well-known types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – I do not think that any statistics exist for such a question, but when I tell people I have OCD, they’ll usually think that I’m obsessed with cleaning and afraid of germs. While it’s partially true, unfortunately, these are not the only symptoms that I have.

What does contamination OCD look like?

– constant hand washing (yes, I wash my hands at least 60 times a day)
– fear of germs
– fear of bodily fluids
– avoiding public toilets/ public transport
– obsessive compulsive cleaning
– being afraid of touching door handles (I know that an average person would think that they could easily explain why it’s safe, but for me it’s like: germs are everywhere and they can survive for long enough to destroy you)

Fear of harming others (or sometimes yourself)

As for my experience, this is the least well-known type of OCD – and in my opinion, the reason behind this, is that it’s extremely difficult to tell others about it.

If you’ve ever been afraid of accidentally (or intentionally) harming one of your loved ones, pushing someone off a building or gouging out your own eyeballs, it’s likely that you have some experience with this type of OCD.

There’s an endless list of intrusive thoughts that this type of OCD can give you – and many of them start by “what if I ….

– Hit a pedestrian while driving
Jump off a cliff
– Push someone of
– Put my cat in the microwave oven
– Hurting a loved one
– Fear of doing something illegal
Intentionally harming yourself

And these terrifying thoughts can make you avoid any situation that you think is dangerous (such as being around small children or the elderly).

Unacceptable thoughts

Everyone has a personal moral code: while most of the people are not constantly distressed by their morality, beliefs and sins.

Have you ever experienced intrusive thoughts that totally violated your morals and values? Such as:

– sexually molesting others
– inappropriate thoughts about religious figures -such as “what if you’re sexually attracted to them?”
-eating food that’s not allowed in your religion

And the disturbing thoughts are followed by different rituals, such as compulsive praying (or in my case, crossing myself several times a day.)

Checking OCD

This is another form of OCD that’s pretty well-known to the public. We have all seen annoying comedy movies that made fun of people checking a thousand times if their door’d been locked or if they had not forgotten to turn the stove off. While this may sound funny, but I can tell you that the feelings that come together with the compulsive checking behaviors are not funny at all, such as:

– Extreme fear of losing your personal items (and yes, that’d make you check your pockets at least a hundred times a day)
– Fear of having written an inappropriate text or e-mail (so why not checking it exactly 3 times before you hit send?)
– Or my personal obsession: checking if the door is locked numerous times, every morning, does not always solve the problem as I’d continue to have scary thoughts during the day – until the very moment I arrive home.

Order and symmetry

Did it ever happen to you that you decided to spend some time at a local store to organize the shelves? (And you were not even working at that shop!)

Yes, that may sound hilarious, but it’s pretty far from being funny. Especially to those people who waste hours every single day on their obsessions.

This type of OCD has also appeared in numerous works of literature – with the most famous sufferer being Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

You must use your little grey cells, mon ami (but not for overthinking! )

Common symptoms include:

– Anxiety over asymmetry (that can make you organize your shelves multiple times a day)
– Wanting to write the exact number of words on each line on the page, to make it look symmetrical (as you may have noticed, I do not have this obsession, I’ve just heard about it from others)
– Being concerned that something terrible will happen if your objects at home are not arranged in perfect order.
– Fear of odd numbers

Fear of losing control

According to many, this type of OCD may fall under the same category as the “harming others one” – but then, I’m not a scientist so I’ve listed the different types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder according to my own feelings.

And well, I find this one very disturbing: for those who do not suffer from OCD, it may be impossible to imagine that there are people out there who are scared to death that:

– they might start to shouting during a theater performance
– or they might expose their genitals during a business meeting

And just like in other types of OCD, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the creative invention of incredible and distressing intrusive thoughts.
So yes, these are the 6 types of OCD that I came across in the last decade – if you think the list is incomplete, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

And I really hope that sharing my personal stories helped some of you – I do believe that every OCD victim have to know that they’re not alone and there are a lot of people out there who’re going through the same terror.

Want to read more about OCD?

P.S: Today, I found an amazing video on YouTube that perfectly illustrates all different types of OCD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD-xPiwtyHA

Mark Wester

28 thoughts on “6 Types of OCD

      1. Oh la la – thank you very much again for the suggestion. I’ve Googled it and it looks amazing: I’ve always been looking for shows that present OCD in a more accurate manner, but it’s very hard to find one, but this one actually looks good!


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