Can You Have Different Types of OCD?

There are many different types of OCD that patients can develop, each with its own set of symptoms. Read on to learn more about the types of OCD.

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What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that presents as a pattern of unwanted thoughts or fears that manifest through repetitive behaviors. OCD interferes with patients’ lives and often causes them significant distress if they’re unable to perform these repetitive behaviors to help with their thoughts or fears. Even if people attempt to ignore the problem, this often leads to other symptoms, including depression and anxiety, that also prevent them from going through their daily lives.1

This disorder also manifests as multiple different types of OCD, including aggressive or sexual thoughts, fear of germs and contamination, and issues with sin and religion.

Types of ocd

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Who Gets Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

OCD can affect anyone, but it is most commonly diagnosed around age 19. Symptoms tend to present themselves in men earlier than they do in women. About 2.3% of people in the United States will develop OCD at some point in their lives.2

OCD Signs and Symptoms

Since there are many different types of OCD, the signs and symptoms of the disorder can present themselves in myriad ways. However, the two most common symptoms of OCD include obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.3

Obsessive Thoughts

Obsessive thoughts often affect your daily life. They make it difficult to focus on anything except these obsessions. These thoughts can range from harmless in nature, to harmful such as the fear of losing things. Some common types of obsessive thoughts may include:

  • Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or of contaminating others
  • Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others
  • Intrusive thoughts or images that are sexually explicit or violent
  • Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
  • Fear of losing or not having things you may need
  • Order and symmetry, the ideas that things need to line up “just right”
  • Superstitions, like excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky

Compulsive Behaviors

These behaviors are often done in response to the obsessive thoughts you may be having, and you generally feel like you “have” to do these behaviors to help with the thoughts. Common compulsive behaviors include:

  • Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, or switches
  • Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe
  • Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing another activity to reduce anxiety
  • Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning
  • Ordering or arranging things “just so”
  • Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear
  • Accumulating “junk,” such as old newspapers or empty food containers

What Causes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Since there are many types of OCD, figuring out a single cause for the disorder is difficult. Many scientists think that it could be due to genetics, brain abnormalities, and the environment.4

However, there are many other potential causes, most of which are responses that the brain and body must stress or anxiety. These can include:

  • Changes in living situations
  • Death of a loved one or other emotional trauma
  • History of abuse
  • Illness
  • Low levels of serotonin
  • Overactivity in certain areas of the brain
  • Problems with work, school, or an important relationship

Common Types of OCD

While there are multiple different ways that OCD can be classified in terms of symptoms and behaviors, there aren’t necessarily diagnosable “types.” OCD manifests in multiple ways, and most patients tend to fit certain subsets of symptoms. These can include:5
  • Aggressive or Sexual Thoughts: This is when an individual experiences troubling aggressive or sexual thoughts or imagery that may involve friends or family.
  • Harm to Loved Ones: Many people with OCD have intense anxiety that their loved ones will get hurt somehow.
  • Germs and Contamination: The fear of germs and contamination often leads people to wash their hands or house multiple times.
  • Doubts and Incompleteness: OCD can also cause people to worry that they haven’t finished something, such as locking the door.
  • Sin, Religion, Morality: Some people with OCD worry about sinning or not being a good person, leading them to ask for forgiveness.
  • Order and Symmetry: Order and symmetry often look like people spending a lot of time ensuring things are “just right.”
  • Self-Control: This type of OCD often makes people think they cannot control themselves from committing violence or embarrassing themselves in public.

Is It Possible to Have Two Different Types of OCD?

Those with OCD often develop the disorder over time, which also means that they can have multiple types of OCD as well. For example, someone may start with having aggressive or sexual thoughts, which also leads them to worry about their lack of self-control. Multiple OCD types overlap with each other and affect patients in many ways.

Also, the type of OCD that some people have may change for them over time. They may at first be diagnosed with doubts and incompleteness as their type of OCD and then later develop issues with order and symmetry while no longer worrying about incompleteness. Each person’s OCD diagnosis is different, which is why it’s so important to speak to a doctor about a treatment that will work for you.6

Treatments for OCD

There are multiple ways that doctors or mental health professionals can help treat you and whatever type of OCD you may have. These can include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Medications, such as SSRIs
  • Exposure and response prevention
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Types of ocd

Can You Prevent OCD?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to entirely prevent someone from developing types of OCD. Even though this disorder is often brought on by trauma or stress responses, people may still develop it even if they don’t experience these issues.

As stated before, genetics and brain differences also contribute to the disorder being diagnosed. While you can’t prevent it, getting treatment as early as possible can help you figure out what steps to take to mitigate symptoms.7

Self-Help Tips for People With OCD

If you or a loved one have OCD, a few ways to help make sure that it doesn’t take over your day include:

  • Refocusing your attention
  • Writing down obsessive thoughts or worries
  • Anticipating urges to help ease them
  • Setting aside time for a daily worry period
  • Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally

Get Help Overcoming Different Types of OCD at Profound Treatment

Profound Treatment is here to help you or a loved one if you’re experiencing symptoms of OCD. Our facility and its skilled professionals offer multiple treatment options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and many others.

We’re here to make sure you get the help you need and will work with you every step of the way, especially if your OCD is co-occurring alongside a substance abuse disorder. Reach out to us today if you want to get started or if you are looking to learn more about the types of OCD.

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