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10 Lesser-Known Types of OCD

Updated: Dec 20, 2022



Contamination OCD is perhaps the most widely recognized type of OCD, however, it represents just half of those who have OCD. This post is meant is to share some of the lesser-known types of OCD.


Sexual orientation OCD: This is the obsession that one's presenting sexual orientation is not their actual sexual orientation. If someone identifies as a lesbian, she might worry that she is actually straight, which could lead to the end of her relationship with a women. Compulsions might include looking at attractive men to test herself to see if she is experiencing feelings of attraction.


Symmetry OCD: This presents as anxiety and discomfort when items are not lined up properly. Individuals will indicate that there is a strong feeling of things not feeling "right" until items are aligned in a specific way.


Just Right OCD: This is the discomfort that an item placed in a certain way doesn't feel "right." A person might put a teacup on a table and then continue to adjust the direction of the handle. This feeling of "just right" might change each time, but the compulsion is to adjust until the "just right" feeling occurs and anxiety diminishes.


Harm OCD: This is the fear that a person may have harmed or killed someone. This could be the fear of accidentally hitting someone with their car. Compulsions might include checking the car for any scratches or signs of blood, circling the block to search for struck pedestrians or watching the news for any reports of hit and runs.


Pedophilia OCD (P-OCD): The fear of being a pedophile. Individuals with P-OCD will avoid children or places with children. They might refuse to hug nieces or nephews and have intrusive thoughts insisting that they find children attractive. It's important to note that people with P-OCD have no interest in children; it is a fear only.


Relationship OCD (R-OCD): The fear that one's partner is not "the one" or that the one with R-OCD is not good enough for their partner. The individual might engage in compulsions such as going online to complete compatibility tests, constantly question their (or their partner's love/motives) and seek reassurance.


Moral OCD or "Am I a Bad Person" OCD: This is the fear of being a bad person or offending one's religious figure, such as God. Compulsions might consist of checking with others or going online to gain certainty that decisions made do not mean the person is bad or immoral.


Perinatal or Postpartum OCD: The fear of hurting one's child.


Existential OCD: This is the fear that the purpose of one's life will never be determined or that there really is no purpose to life. Individuals attempt to gain certainty, which further increases one's anxiety.


People as contaminants or Emotional contamination OCD: This is the fear that spending time with someone who has a different lifestyle or belief system might overly influence the person with OCD and lead them to live in a way that they will regret.


This list is far from complete. In my next post, I will share some other types of OCD. It's important to note that almost any obsession can become OCD if there are compulsions that are associated with it. The OCD tries to gain certainty in an uncertain world through compulsions. Giving in to these compulsions will provide short-term relief but a general long-term increase in anxiety.



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