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How to Know if You Have OCD: Types of OCD

By July 2, 2019November 19th, 2020Dr. Jenny Yip, OCD
Types of OCD

Sometimes you may have a thought that repeats itself over and over again in your mind. You can’t get rid of it, and it feels as if the thought isn’t true, but you have it anyway and simply can’t get rid of it. On other occasions, you may become obsessed with doing a certain action, such as believing that the door is unlocked as you go and check the door repeatedly. Even after checking it twice, you continue to check the door throughout the day.

Behaviors like this could mean you have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic disorder that is both common and long-lasting. While most people hear about obsessive cleaning as being an OCD behavior, there are other types of this disorder to be aware about to determine if you may have it.

OCD is usually separated into two categories: obsessions and compulsions. Under these two categories are different types of OCD, such as intrusive thoughts and compulsive counting. Let’s take a look at these types of OCD behaviors.

How to Know if You Have OCD: Obsession Subtypes

Obsessions consist of intrusive thoughts, disturbing mental images or irrational impulses that happen repeatedly. These mental images, thoughts or impulses can create enormous amounts of anxiety and bad feelings. Of course, just because a person has a bad thought doesn’t mean that they have OCD. Yet if the person spends at least an hour every day focused on these intrusive thoughts or if the impulses become so time-consuming that they intrude into your daily life, then you may have OCD.

Aggressive Thoughts

You may have thoughts or mental images about hurting yourself or another person. Even though you don’t want to hurt anyone, these intrusive thoughts continue to be in the center of your mind. Also, you may have obsessive thoughts where you think you may have hurt someone even though you didn’t.

Contamination and Germs

You may be deathly afraid of being contaminated. You may think that whatever you touch could infect your body or even your mind. This unreasonable fear can begin to create anxieties where you are terrified about leaving your house or even your room so you don’t become contaminated by anything that may come in contact with you.

Symmetrical and Perfect Order

An OCD behavior that people are familiar with is where you need to have everything in a perfect straight line or symmetrical. This behavior may involve thinking that a picture is always out of alignment or the books on the shelf are not placed in a specific order. This causes extreme anxiety to point where you feel the urge to fix things immediately.

Taboo or Forbidden Thoughts

Taboo and forbidden thoughts can encompass unwanted sexual and religious images and impulses. These thoughts may involve having a fear of being attracted to family members, children and other people. You may also have obsessive religious impulses where you continually repeat certain rituals, such as kissing religious objects or repeating prayers, in order to avoid sin.

How to Know If You Have OCD: Compulsion Subtypes

Compulsions serve to decrease or neutralize the extreme anxiety triggered from obsessions. In order to gain relief from the discomfort, you give into the urges to perform physical or mental compulsions that you feel powerless to ignore. Unfortunately, the relief gained from compulsions are only temporary before the obsession returns with feelings of anxiety. Once again, you feel compelled to repeat the compulsion to gain relief albeit temporarily. As you might imagine, this becomes a vicious cycle that disrupts your life and debilitates your overall functioning. Types of compulsive behaviors:

  • Physical checking to make sure things, people, and situations are safe or perfect.
  • Mental checking: repeatedly reviewing previous events or behaviors in your mind to analyze them.
  • Repeating behaviors until it feels right or to good numbers.
  • Counting to good numbers or in sequence.
  • Excessive hand washing or cleaning.
  • Praying to wipe bad thoughts or actions.
  • Hoarding, saving, collecting random items.
  • Organizing or arranging things in a precise order.

OCD can impact anyone, including young children and seniors. Symptoms may come and go, however tend to worsen over time and without proper treatment. Evidence-based treatment for OCD involves Exposure & Response Prevention Therapy (ERP), which is a very specific type of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Being aware of OCD allows you to seek the right treatment, so that obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors don’t have to take over your life. For more information, contact Renewed Freedom Center.