The 6 Different Types of OCD: What You Need to Know

Types of OCD

Share this post with your friends and loved ones

Table of Contents

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. When you have OCD, you experience intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and feel the need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions) to try to control your obsessions. While compulsions are often repetitive behaviors, they can also take the form of mental rituals such as counting, saying certain words or phrases, or avoidance behaviors.

There are 6 Common types of OCD which include contamination OCD, checking OCD, Symmetry and orderliness OCD, hoarding OCD, intrusive thoughts OCD, and just right OCD. OCD can be a very debilitating disorder that may cause you to miss work or school, avoid social situations, and isolate yourself from loved ones. If you are struggling with one of these types of OCD, you may often recognize that your thoughts and behaviors are irrational and feel powerless to stop them.

Understand and manage your OCD symptoms through online therapy

What are the differences between the 6 types of OCD?

All types of OCD are similar because they are characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Once a trigger sets off an obsession, you feel compelled to perform a specific behavior or ritual to try to ease your anxiety. Each type of OCD has its own unique set of symptoms.

Contamination OCD

Contamination OCD involves an obsession with germs and toxins, leading to compulsive behaviors such as frequent hand-washing, cleaning, and avoidance of perceived contaminated places. For instance, you might constantly wash your hands, avoid shaking hands or touching doorknobs, and sterilize surfaces before contact when you have contamination OCD.

Checking OCD

If you find yourself constantly worried about potential harm or danger and feel the need to check things repeatedly, you might be experiencing Checking OCD. This could involve repeatedly checking doors, appliances, or other items to ensure safety. If you frequently verify if doors are locked, even when it causes distress and disrupts your daily life, it’s essential to be aware of the possibility of Checking OCD.

Symmetry and Order OCD

If you have symmetry and order OCD, you might feel compelled to create order and symmetry in your surroundings. This could involve arranging items a specific way, straightening things, counting, and excessive cleaning. For instance, you might be unable to leave the house unless everything is in its designated place, and you may fear asymmetrical objects, feeling the need to straighten or arrange them accordingly.

Hoarding OCD

If you have hoarding OCD, you might be preoccupied with the fear of discarding items that could be needed later. This could lead to compulsive behaviors such as collecting things, excessive buying, and avoiding throwing anything away. For instance, you might save every newspaper, magazine, or piece of junk mail, finding it challenging to discard items, even if they serve no practical purpose.

It’s crucial to understand that hoarding OCD is a distinct diagnosis and differs from OCD. While individuals with OCD may exhibit some hoarding tendencies, those with hoarding OCD may not necessarily experience other OCD symptoms.

Intrusive thoughts OCD

If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts OCD, you may find yourself plagued by distressing and unwanted thoughts that seem to intrude on your mind. These thoughts can be disturbing, causing anxiety and discomfort. For example, recurring thoughts of harm to loved ones despite having no intention of causing harm.

Just right OCD

If you’re struggling with “just right” OCD, you might feel an intense need for things to be arranged or positioned in a specific way to achieve a sense of perfection. An example could be constantly adjusting the alignment of items on a desk until they feel “just right,” even if it causes significant time and stress. This form of OCD involves a persistent desire for things to meet a personal standard of perfection, leading to repetitive behaviors to attain that sense of rightness.

What causes these types of OCD?

The exact causes of OCD, including specific subtypes like just right OCD or intrusive thoughts OCD, are not fully understood. However, a combination of genetic, neurological, behavioral, cognitive, and environmental factors likely contributes to the development of OCD.

  • Genetics: If you’re struggling with OCD, it’s important to recognize that genetics can play a role. If OCD runs in your family, you might be more predisposed to developing it.
  • Neurological factors: In this case, there may be imbalances in neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, contributing to OCD. This neurological aspect is part of the complex nature of the disorder.
  • Behavioral and cognitive patterns: Your learned patterns of responding to obsessive thoughts and engaging in compulsive behaviors are significant contributors. Recognizing and addressing these patterns is crucial in managing OCD.
  • Life events and stress: Understand that life events, stress, and trauma can be triggers for the onset or worsening of OCD symptoms in your experience. Identifying and managing these stressors is part of coping with OCD.
  • Complex interplay: Keep in mind that the interplay of these factors is unique to each person. Your journey with OCD involves a combination of genetic, neurological, behavioral, cognitive, and environmental influences.

Remember, having these factors doesn’t guarantee OCD, and not having them doesn’t ensure immunity. OCD is a complex mental health condition, and understanding these aspects can be a crucial step in seeking appropriate support.

How online therapy can help manage your OCD

Understand and manage your OCD symptoms through online therapy

Living with OCD can be challenging, just know that there’s hope and help available. One of the most effective tools in managing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is online therapy.

  • Understanding the roots: Online therapy provides a safe space to explore and understand the roots of your OCD. Our specialized therapist can help you identify the underlying factors, whether they be genetic, neurological, behavioral, or linked to life events. Understanding these factors is a crucial step toward effective management.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely recognized and evidence-based therapeutic approach for managing OCD. It focuses on changing thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to distress. Through CBT, you learn to challenge and reframe obsessive thoughts, as well as gradually reduce compulsive behaviors.
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP): ERP is a specialized form of CBT tailored for OCD. It involves gradually exposing you to your obsessive fears while preventing the accompanying compulsive rituals. Over time, this helps desensitize and reshape your brain’s response to obsessive thoughts.
  • Skill-building and coping strategies: Online therapy equips you with practical skills and coping strategies to manage OCD symptoms. From mindfulness techniques to stress-reducing activities, your therapist will work collaboratively with you to build a personalized toolkit for navigating the challenges posed by OCD.
  • Tailored treatment plans: Each person’s experience with OCD is unique, and online therapy allows for the development of tailored treatment plans. Your therapist will work closely with you to address your concerns, making the treatment process more effective and personalized.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of OCD, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. OCD can be a very debilitating disorder, yet with the right support, you can live a normal, productive life.

Makin Wellness Counselors can help answer any questions about OCD. Start the process of moving forward with Pennsylvania online therapy. At Makin Wellness, we serve the Greater Pittsburgh, PA area, the Philidelphia, PA region, and the entire state of Pennsylvania. To learn more about how we can help you, start your healing journey now.

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness research team. The content on this page is not a replacement for professional diagnosis, treatment, or informed advice. It is important to consult with a qualified mental health professional before making any decisions or taking action. Please refer to our terms of use for further details.

Refer to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy page for more information.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Shivam

    OCD is explained very well. Thanks

  2. Soniya

    This post is incredibly informative! The explanation of the 4 different types of OCD is thorough and easy to understand. The writing style is clear and the information is presented in a way that is both educational and approachable. I appreciated the insight into a complex and often misunderstood condition. Thank you for shedding light on OCD and for providing such a valuable resource.

    1. Makinwellness

      Thanks so much for your question! Having difficulty with chewing noises can be included under OCD or other related disorders, but that isn’t an exclusive categorization. A licensed therapist can better determine that based on other criteria that would be covered within a counseling session.

  3. Cleetus

    Have a nephew who is terrified of germs but doesn’t have excessive cleaning behaviours.In fact he refused to shower.Doesnt sound like typical OCD.

  4. Walter

    Can someone develop more than one type of OCD?

    1. Makinwellness

      Great question, Walter. You can have one main type of OCD or have symptoms of multiple types of OCD. The type of OCD can change over time, as well. The fact that a person’s OCD can morph over time makes it even more important to get to the root of the OCD through therapy and not just treat the symptoms.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.