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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is an infamous mental health condition. It affects a significant fraction of the world population, with around 2-3 million people suffering from different types of OCD in the US alone. Just like the types, the symptoms of OCD can vary significantly from person to person. Therefore, there is a need for a thorough guide to help you cope with the symptoms of OCD in the best way possible. 

In this blog, we will discuss four common types of OCD: contamination OCD, harm OCD, checking OCD, and symmetry OCD. Each of these has its specific problems and requires different coping strategies. Identifying the specific features related to each condition can help you make great strides in regaining control and improving your quality of life. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s read ahead. 

4 Common Types of OCD

1. Contamination OCD

Contamination OCD is one of the common types of OCD. People with this specific type are obsessed with the thought of contamination from germs, dirt, or any pollutant. Hence, such thoughts compel them to wash and clean repeatedly. This fear is more than a regular concern for neatness. It may overpower a person’s thoughts so much that they feel like rigorous cleaning is the only way out. 

Some of the indications that would help you identify that you may be having Contamination OCD include, 

Often, many people with contamination OCD have shown another indication of unnecessary use of sanitizers and soap. It is not just a basic sense of cleanliness but a deep fear of transmitting diseases or germs to family.

Contamination OCD treatment involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), most likely of the subtype Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). It helps you face fears of contamination in a gradual, controlled way, diminishing the urge to wash continuously. Other helpful strategies would be mindfulness exercises that actually aid your anxiety associated with these obsessions. You should also seek professional support if you cannot handle the problem yourself. 

2. Harm OCD

Another one of the common types of OCD is harm OCD. People with this type have continued obsessions with thoughts of harming themselves or others while, in fact, they have no desire to do so. The intrusive thoughts can be very distressing. They usually involve scenarios of loved ones being harmed in different ways by the person.

Identifying Harm OCD involves looking for symptoms such as when the person, 

People with harm OCD will avoid situations in which they can harm others, e.g., cooking with knives. Harm OCD is also treated with CBT, in particular, ERP. It allows a person to face their fears under safe conditions, getting used to the anxiety but not responding with compulsive behavior. 

3. Checking OCD

Checking OCD is also among the four main types of OCD. People with checking OCD harbor persistent doubts and fears about safety or correctness. Ultimately, people indulge in repetitive behaviors like checking locks and appliances or ensuring many times that important tasks have been completed without any errors. Even though avoiding disaster or damage is a good habit. However, in this case, the thoughts force the individual to keep checking repeatedly, no matter how it impacts their life.

Some of the common behaviors that you will notice in a person with checking OCD are, 

Most of these behaviors demand too much time and can essentially interfere with the general productivity of the individual.

Similar to the other two types of OCD, CBT and ERP help the individual confront his fears in a controlled manner. Other coping techniques include stress management techniques such as deep breathing and meditation, as well as finding ways to reduce the anxiety that results in compulsive checks. This type of OCD is best dealt with by spending time with a mental health professional who specializes in OCD so that the individual suffering from it will have the opportunity to develop coping strategies that work for them.

4. Symmetry OCD

Symmetry OCD is when an individual is compelled to place things in an orderly way. This type of OCD generally affects people who feel a strong need for precision and balance. They usually feel a deep need to align items in a balanced way with precision or follow specific routines to realize a sense of order.

Examples of behavior associated with symmetry OCD include the continuous urge to repeat acts like, 

As with other types of OCD, people with symmetry OCD also need CBT and professional advice to cope with symptoms. 

Where to Find Help?

Dealing with symptoms of different types of OCD is not always easy, and it often becomes challenging. Therefore, it’s always better to seek advice from a professional. If you are confused about where you should seek professional advice, we are here to help.

Contact us today.

Let us help you slowly and progressively free yourself of the nefarious symptoms of different types of OCD. 

Herny Kaggwa
Written and reviewed by: Herny Kaggwa
PMHNP-BC, APRN. Clinical Director
Assured Hope Community Health. LLC
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