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Types of OCD

OCD is a cyclic disorder comprised of obsessions (distressing thoughts) and compulsions (mental or behavioral habits to relieve the anxiety). Reliance on the compulsions to feel better perpetuates the cycle. Over time, it seems impossible to cope with the anxiety without engaging in compulsions. Read on to learn about the various subsets of OCD.

Contamination fears that are followed by decontamination compulsions in order to feel relief from the anxiety, discomfort and uncertainty.

Feeling terrified you may harm someone else. And steering clear of certain people as well as potentially dangerous objects for fear of harming someone.

Uncertainty of whether you could or want to cause harm to yourself. Constantly questioning, "am I suicidal?" And then working to answer that question.

Extreme distress that results from doubts about your own sexual orientation. Relief from reassurance or checking is temporary as the doubt inevitably returns.

Doubts about your relationship in terms of connection, longevity, intimacy, etc. This results in efforts to test your worries and seek certainty about your doubts.

Questions about leaving a door unlocked or stove on that result in mental review and rechecking. It is common to have strong feelings of responsibility for the safety of others resulting in certainty-seeking that everything is safe.

Thoughts or images that frequently show up causing significant distress, disgust and anxiety. Compulsions are not observable leading some to think they are not present.

This is when doubt targets driving and the possibility of hitting someone while on the road. In these triggering situations, there are no facts to support this idea but when uncertainty shows up, it is hard to stay grounded in facts.

Triggers bring about a sense that something is incomplete, uneven or asymmetrical or simply not right. Compulsions work to regain the just right feeling and get rid of the tension and discomfort.

Obsessions are about life's biggest questions leaving you feeling anxious and unsure. Significant time is spent in compulsions with high levels of distress reported.

Belief that contact with a feared person or place will lead to mental or physical contamination such as taking on the unwanted personality traits of someone. 

OCD that focuses on platonic relationships like those with your children, pets, boss, coworkers or casual acquaintances. It can even target your objects or decisions like, "what should I declare as my college major?"

Fear of behaving in ways that are immoral or against your own ethical code leading to self-evaluation of whether you're a "good" or "bad" person. Usually accompanied by tremendous guilt and shame.

Excessive worry around adherence to religious practices and doubt about current standing with God or religious leader. Compulsions may look like faith-based actions but they mainly serve to relieve the anxiety that accompanies an OCD episode.

Uncertainty around whether a memory truly happened or not. Considerable mental review where the real or imagined memory is replayed over and over in hopes of getting certainty on what really took place. 

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