Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn’t just about having negative thoughts, stepping on tiles of the same color, or biting your nails. It’s more of having recurring, tormenting thoughts that might compel you to act a certain way. You usually behave in a way to calm down your anxiety. OCD is about these thoughts, behaviors, and more.

OCD is a psychiatric condition in which people have repeated intrusive thoughts and obsessions. Although you may not want to give in to your emotions, if you have OCD, you feel powerless to stop yourself. This mental disorder usually involves one or more issues.

Are There Different Types of OCD?

People often assume that OCD is an obsession with cleanliness or order. In reality, this mental disorder can manifest itself in various ways and be invisible to an observer. Although OCD has similar symptoms, the way it affects your life can differ from person to person.

When we talk about the different types of OCD, we talk about how their thoughts and compulsions affect them. This means that OCD subtypes are based on your mental fixation and what thoughts arise from it. OCD is classified based on the beliefs and obsessions that occur regularly in people.

Although many therapists don’t like to divide OCD into different groups, the subtypes can significantly help individuals at the beginning of treatment. Understanding the different types of OCD can help people better comprehend the disorder and its manifestations.

Types of OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be divided into several subtypes. The most common forms of OCD are described below.

1. Checking OCD

One of the most common forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is controlling OCD. A checking-based behavior defines it. People suffering from this type of OCD place a high value on things being locked down, turned off, or right in some way. While most people tend to do this, someone suffering from OCD repeats this checking activity over and over again.

People who suffer from Checking OCD fear something terrible will happen to them or their loved ones. They continue their checking ritual to ensure their physical safety. The obsessive worrying and fear cause anxiety in their minds, and they respond to it with their checking habits.

Causes and Signs of Checking OCD

It’s tough to determine the cause of checking OCD. Usually, it’s a combination of cognitive, behavioral, genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors. The compulsive behavior of checking is what perpetuates this type of OCD.

Here are a few signs of checking OCD.

  • Make sure doors are always locked.
  • Worrying about causing a fire if they leave an electrical device or appliance lying around.
  • Extreme worry that their actions will harm or upset their loved ones.
  • Checking their body for symptoms because they fear getting sick and possibly dying.

2. Religious OCD

Religious OCD is one of the oldest subtypes of this mental disorder. It revolves around fear of God, living in sin, or acting unethically that may violate religious beliefs. This type of OCD dates back to the 16th century when monks prayed excessively to please God and achieve a state of holiness.

People suffering from religious OCD are tormented by unwanted thoughts or triggers around their religion. This can lead to severe stress, worry, and guilt. They try to relieve their anxiety through compulsive acts such as excessive praying and avoidance.

Causes and Signs of Religious OCD

Like other types of OCD, religious OCD can be caused by environmental and genetic factors. Brain injury can also cause OCD, but it’s a relatively uncommon cause. In religious OCD, people develop severe and intense thoughts about the religious beliefs that are important to them.

Here are a few signs of religious OCD.

  • They constantly think about a vice they committed in the past or envision a future sin.
  • Reciting prayer repeatedly to ensure they’re repeating it correctly.
  • Getting tormented by unholy or unethical religious thoughts or images.
  • Seeking assurance repeatedly from loved ones that they haven’t committed immoral acts.

3. Organizational OCD

Organizational OCD is another common mental disorder in which people are obsessed with things looking how they’re supposed to. It’s also known as symmetry or order OCD. The organization of things usually focuses on the arrangement that feels right to the person. People with this obsessive-compulsive disorder don’t just like organizing things but have an uncontrollable urge to arrange them perfectly.

People who suffer from organizational OCD feel anxious or distressed when they find things that aren’t correctly organized or aligned. They think something catastrophic will happen if something isn’t arranged or done a certain way.

Causes and Signs of Organizational OCD

While there’s no apparent cause for organizational OCD, a few theories seem to cause it. This type of OCD is more common in males and usually develops at a younger age. It also has a strong genetic basis and often runs in families.

Here are a few signs of organizational OCD.

  • An overwhelming urge to organize things in a certain way.
  • Ensuring items are evenly spaced or balanced.
  • An impulse to avoid situations or environments that have a potential for asymmetry.
  • Doubting themselves and constantly reviewing their activities to ensure they are done perfectly.

4. Rumination OCD

Rumination OCD is somewhat different from the other subtypes of OCD where the person has all the obsessions within themselves. People suffering from this type of OCD usually spend hours worrying or analyzing a particular thought. These thoughts and images worry the person and can sometimes be influential and threatening.

People suffering from rumination OCD are forced by their thoughts to question themselves and constantly brood about it. Their thoughts force them to look for evidence from their past or imagine a future where they see their beliefs coming true. Rumination is a type of compulsive behavior that they indulge in to get rid of these thoughts.

Causes and Signs of Rumination OCD

Rumination is a kind of mental compulsion that’s invisible to the observer. The cause of this type of OCD is unknown, but environmental and genetic factors may contribute. While ruminating solves a problem in mind, it eventually becomes the problem itself.

Here are a few signs of rumination OCD.

  • Getting obsessive thoughts about cleanliness.
  • Constantly go through a mental checklist to make sure your surroundings are clean.
  • Repeat checks to see if you’re causing harm to those around you.
  • You spend hours reviewing your past actions.

5. Contamination OCD

Contamination is another prevalent subtype of OCD in which a person is obsessed with contracting a disease. They believe that germs can cause some turmoil in their life. These repetitive thoughts can cause severe anxiety and distress and lead to compulsive actions.

Contamination OCD can be divided into physical and mental contamination. In physical contamination OCD, you have an extreme fear of contact with foreign objects or people. On the other hand, mental contamination is when you have an inner feeling of being dirty or immoral.

Causes and Signs of Contamination OCD

The cause of Contamination OCD is still unclear, but genetics, environment, and differences in brain structure are known to contribute to this mental disorder.

Here are a few signs of Contamination OCD.

  • Extreme fear of getting sick and possibly dying.
  • Excessive hand washing or taking long baths to get clean.
  • Fear of being cheated on or being unfaithful to their partner.
  • Avoiding situations or environments that may trigger it.

Living with Different Types of OCD

Regardless of the type of OCD you suffer from, you need to understand that it’s treatable. It may take some time, but the help of a therapist is your best chance.

You should also accept and learn to live with your OCD during treatment. Staying active, eating well, and sharing your experiences with loved ones can help you cope and live with your disorder.

You can talk to your family and friends or join a support group. They can help you cope with your symptoms and support you on your journey.