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Are there different types of OCD?

There are five distinct types of OCD. These can be stand alone, or overlapping.  They can be identified by their symptoms. Although particular types of OCD vary between the clients we see, our approach can be very effective with each of them. The 5 types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder we help are:

1) Contamination obsessions with cleaning/ washing compulsions

Symptoms of OCDClients typically experience fear-based feelings of discomfort associated with actual or perceived instances of contamination. Examples include touching objects touched by others, being in contact with other people including family members, coming into contact with chemicals, and even personal hygiene such as cleaning teeth, or fear of one’s own dead skin particles on clothes. The resultant and excessive washing or cleaning serves to reduce the distress they feel.

2) Harm obsessions with checking compulsions

Sufferers have consistent and regular fear based intense thoughts relating to potential harm to themselves or others. They use ritual compulsions, checking and re-checking for example things like window and door locks, gas hobs, and house alarms, to ensure harm is avoided. Acting on the compulsion relieves the distress associated the relevant imagined scenario, e.g fire, burglary etc. In addition to this, some clients also believe that though imagining the harmful event, they are also increasing the likelihood that this will occur.

3) Pure Obsessions – Obsessions without visible compulsions

More difficult to notice from an outsider’s perspective, unwanted pure obsessions are often sexual, religious, or aggressive in nature, or have to do with a belief system of some kind. Internal rituals and dialogues often occur such as counting, praying, or reciting words or phrases. The purpose of this is to relieve the anxiety felt whilst having the obsessive thoughts. The sufferer will usually try to avoid anything, which triggers their obsessive thoughts at all costs.

4) Symmetry Obsessions with compulsions to arrange, organize, and count

People who experience symmetry obsessions can be seen as perfectionists. They have an overpowering need to arrange and rearrange objects until they are “just perfect”. Sometimes this is done to prevent something completely unrelated, unwanted and bad from happening. Sufferers routinely apply strict rules of order, arrangement, symmetry, tidiness/neatness and counting to their surroundings. These actions are sometimes accompanied by repeatedly thinking or speaking words or sentences, until the task is completed.

5) Hoarding

Probably the most easily explainable type of OCD, hoarding is a compulsion to keep hold of items that would be seen by others as being of limited or no value. Hording is often driven by the obsessional and irrational fear of losing material possessions, which may one day come in useful. Hording is characterised by excessive emotional attachment to objects, and can lead to the entire home being completely filled with items, which are not actually needed. Hoarders often suffer from anxiety and depression, which can also be helped by the therapy we offer. This compulsion is not always an obsessive disorder.

Read more about Hypnotherapy to Help with OCD.