The international OCD Foundation estimates that about 2 to 3 million adults in the United States have obsessive compulsive disorder. That is roughly one out of every hundred adults. It’s possible that you know someone in your own life with this condition. Did you know that there are actually many different sub-types of OCD?

Dr. Ileana Berman is a Cognitive Science Researcher with over thirty years of experience. Her work largely focuses on drawing connections between obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia

Symptoms of OCD present differently in different people, but there are four common subgroups of OCD:

  • Contamination. This is probably one that people are most familiar with. People with these types of obsessions focus on cleaning excessively because they become distressed about things being contaminated in some way.
  • Symmetry. People with this sub-type tend to develop obsessions around having things arranged in a certain order or doing an action a certain number of times. They are worried something bad will happen if they don’t, for instance, retreat a phrase a certain amount of times or do something perfectly. 
  • Harm. People with this type of OCD often suffer from violent intrusive thoughts about injuring others or themselves. Many people without OCD experience intrusive thoughts from time to time, but people with OCD have a fear that they will carry out the intrusive though, and will perform rituals to relieve their anxiety. 
  • Hoarding. This sub-type stems from an intense fear of not having something you may potentially need. People with this type will collect things to the point that their home becomes unliveable.