Hoarding, Contamination, Washing, Hypochondriasis/Health, Scrupulosity/Guilt, HOCD, BDD, Pure-O, ROCD, Sexual OCD/POCD, Harm, Checking, & Other OCD Types
OCD takes millions of different forms, as unique as each individual. To confirm which type you have, email Dr. Brodsky for a free consultation or make an appointment online yourself, or call 212-726-2390. It is not limited to contamination, washing, checking, cleaning, counting, symmetry, or setting things in order that you see on TV or read about. It can also take the form of hypochondriasis, hoarding, unwanted harm or sexual thoughts (doubts you're straight, gay, trans), relationship doubts whether you love your mate or they love you, wondering whether either of you cheated, scrupulosity, guilt, overresponsibility, religious worries, body dysmorphic, reviewing, fear of being a sexual predator, checking one's own bodily functions (blinking, swallowing, breathing, pulse, etc.), and many more. Below are descriptions of just some of the types of OCD:
Contamination: Fear that something has become contaminated (by germs, dirt, asbestos, chemicals, or contaminiated just by an evil superstitious thought) and that either the person or loved ones will be contaiminated in turn. Sometimes contamination OCD can also take the form of feeling disgusted by contact, without any fear or danger associated. Often people feel compelled to clean, wash, launder, throw out, or isolate "contaminated" objects.
Hypochondriasis: An exaggerated obsessive worry about one's health (in the absence of supporting medical evidence), leading to compulsive looking up medical information, visits to doctors, odd diets, or reassurance seeking from others. With Hypochondriasis OCD, ordinary physiological sensations can be misinterpreted as cancer, heart disease, ulcer, and numerous other illnesses.
Hoarding: Collecting, buying, or failure to discard possesions. Sometimes hoarding OCD can also take the form of never using items for fear of "damaging" them. Frequently, hoarders will prevent others from moving or tampering with their belongings for fear they won't be able to find important things in case they need them. (See hoarding video.)
HOCD (Doubts about Sexual Orientation): Unwanted gay or lesbian thoughts or doubts about one's sexual identity. With HOCD, sufferers often check whether they get aroused by a variety of same-sex situations, in effect testing their sexual orientation. (See HOCD articles on full site.)
POCD & Sexual Taboos: Sexual OCD sufferers experience upsetting obsessions about inappropriate sexual relationships, such as family members, children, married people, animals, or rape. They fear they'll become a pedophile, rapist, molester, adulterer, promiscuous, pornographer, paraphiliac, fetishistic, or deviant. Sexual OCD sufferers constantly test their arousal level to these targets hoping to reassure themselves that they're normal.
Violent Thoughts: Worrying you might harm others, or you or they will might be harmed by crime or accident.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD): The Body Dysmorphic (BDD) OCD sufferer has a distorted negative image of their body, compulsively covering up, over-grooming, or checking a particular part of their body or appearance (hair, fat, skin, teeth, birth marks, face shape, eyebrows, etc.) BDD can sometimes also be experienced as an imagined body odor. Many people with BDD are misdiagnosed as having an eating disorder like anorexia. Although they might look the same, their causes and treatments are very different.
"Pure O" Obsessional OCD: "Pure O" (purely obsessional) OCD is really a misnomer and an often used but obsolete term. With Pure O, the OCD sufferer thinks they have only obsessions and not compulsions. In reality, so called Pure O sufferers have internal mental compulsions, usually self-reassurance, rather than behavioral compulsions. Pure O sufferers try to talk themselves out of their worry, answer an unanswerable question, or ask others to reassure them.