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Types Of OCD

Types of OCD.

There is a common misconception that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is all about being a neat freak and obsessed with cleanliness.

There is so much more involved in this condition including having obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. These obsessive thoughts can be quite disturbing to the point that we think we are a bad person.


It is thought that the character Monica from the TV Show Friends has OCD. She is a neat and clean freak who is always arranging things in a certain way and constantly cleaning. The problem here is that someone who actually suffers from OCD does not enjoy their negative thoughts and compulsive habits. Monica enjoys cleaning and offers to do it for her friends regularly. So I’m not sure if I think Monica does have OCD.

Types Of OCD

If you have OCD you will generally fall into one of 4 categories – although you can overlap between them too.

Personally, I fall into the Contamination category but I do fall into other areas on occasion.

Let’s take a look at those different types of OCD.

Contamination & Cleaning

This is basically a fear that things might be dirty or an obsessive compulsion to clean. You may obsess over spreading germs or that you have contracted an illness. Because of this, you can wash your hands more than normal, or constantly be cleaning things. You might also avoid certain places or places that are crowded.

Emotional Contamination

You can also have emotional contamination which is fearing that things are contaminated and avoiding them at all costs. I once read a story about a girl who thought a member of her immediate family was contaminated and she couldn’t live in the family home anymore because of this.

As I have said before I suffer from contamination OCD and will go deeper into that in a separate blog.

Symmetry & Ordering

People who have this type of OCD have strong urges to rearrange items and can spend excessive amounts of time positioning and repositioning objects perfectly.

This is one of the types that I cross over into. I have to write and re-write things like lists if my writing goes off the line, is the wrong size or if I make a mistake.

Keeping Things Equal

Another way people suffer from symmetry OCD is having to keep things equal. They may tap something 3 times with one hand and have to tap it again 3 times with the other hand to equal it out.

They can also be really superstitious about certain numbers, colours or arrangements.


This is a very common type of OCD. This is where you need to check everything many times. This can be because you think something bad is going to happen if you don’t.

People with this type of OCD may need to constantly check that the door is locked or that the oven has been switched off.

Checking In On People

It can also be that they need to constantly check in with their loved ones to make sure that they are okay.

Intrusive Thoughts & Ruminations

These types of thoughts can be scary because they are usually unwanted and uncontrollable. They can pop into your head at any time without warning. These thoughts can be upsetting and unhealthy.

For me, one of those thoughts is when I am driving my car. It doesn’t happen all of the time but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to drive my car really fast into a wall. When I spoke to my therapist she said this is a completely normal thought. However, when it becomes an obsessive thought is when that changes.


Ruminations are when you have these thoughts constantly and repetitively.

Help & Support

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a pattern of unwanted thoughts, fears and obsessions that cause repetitive behaviours and compulsions.

Those obsessions and compulsions interfere with your daily life and cause extreme distress.

If you need help with OCD you can find more information here

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