Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects 2% of people in America. In general, the disorder involves the presence of intrusive thoughts (unwanted thoughts & impulses known as obsessions) and compulsive behaviors (actions the person feels compelled to perform) in order to minimize the distress caused by the intrusive thoughts. OCD is diagnosed using an assessment tool known as the Yale Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). OCD is best treated with a form of CBT known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy.

This article provides a list of some of the common types of OCD diagnoses that we see in private practice but it is not an exhaustive list .

soap on a hand

contamination oCD

Obsessions:

Fears of contaminating self or others. Feelings of being dirty and never able to feel clean or free of germs.

Compulsions:

Excessive hand washing and cleaning behaviors. Avoidance of spreading germs at all costs.

Just right/Perfectionism oCD

Obsessions:

A feeling or thought that things are not quite right, are “off”, are incomplete or not perfect especially as it pertains to balance, order, position and frequency.

Compulsions:

Adjusting or repeating tasks until it “feels right or complete”.

Pure OCD

Obsessions:

Known as Pure O because it seems to only involve obsessions with no outwardly noticeable compulsions. However, this is a very distressing form of OCD. These thoughts are often very invasive and disturbing.

Compulsions:

Hidden compulsions usually in the form of mental rituals. Some examples of mental rituals include: mental checking, rationalizing, thought neutralizing, memory hoarding and compulsive prayer.

pedophile OCD

Obsessions:

Intrusive sexual thoughts involving children. These thoughts are unwanted. The person with pedophile OCD is worried that they might have sexual thoughts about minors. This is different to pedophilia in that they don’t ACTUALLY have sexual thoughts about children but are instead petrified of having sexual thoughts about children.

Compulsions:

Avoidance of situations where children are present and avoiding any images of children.

religious OCD

Obsessions:

Fears that you are committing sins, not praying the right way or living right under God.

Compulsions:

Excessive prayer, reflection and attending places of worship. The key here is EXCESSIVE.

Suicidal OCD

Obsessions:

Fear of being suicidal, committing suicide or becoming depressed and committing suicide. These people are not actually depressed but are deathly afraid of becoming depressed and losing control by committing suicide.

Compulsions:

Avoiding places that trigger these thoughts such as train tracks, high rise balconies and also excessively reflecting on whether you might kill yourself or not.

Sexual Orientation OCD

Obsessions:

Worries and confusion about one’s sexual orientation and whether their sexual orientation is being correctly perceived by others. Of course questioning one’s sexual orientation is not uncommon, but excessively agonizing over it and being severely distressed by these thoughts might signal sexual orientation OCD.

Compulsions:

Engaging in behaviors that “test out” their sexual orientation in an attempt to reassure themself that they are not a particular orientation and spending excessive amounts of time reviewing and over-interpreting their feelings and attraction to others.

Existential OCD

Obsessions:

Constantly searching for answers to the meaning of life, reality, self and your purpose and really of questions that don’t have certain answers. These questions are often philosophical and abstract.

Compulsions:

Reassurance seeking and excessive research on these topics to find an answer and or establish your significance.

Somatic OCD

Obsessions:

Excessive awareness of your automatic bodily functions such as heart beat, breathing, swallowing etc. and a fear that you will always be overly aware of these.

Compulsions:

Excessive efforts to distract yourself from noticing your bodily functions. Checking if you are still noticing and efforts aimed at trying to not notice them.

OCD is an exhausting illness to live with her. If you or someone you know is struggling, we have expert OCD therapists in Chicago who can help. Contact us today for OCD therapy.

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