Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability, and in the United States, about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children have been diagnosed with OCD. The first step to finding treatment for your OCD is to understand and learn more about your own mental health condition.
What Are the 5 Symptom Subtypes of OCD?
- Contamination Obsessions with Washing/Cleaning: Patients will usually focus on feelings of discomfort associated with germs/contamination, and will wash and clean excessively.
- Harm Obsessions with Checking Compulsions: Patients often have intense thoughts regarding possible harm, either to themselves or others, and will use checking rituals to relieve their distress.
- Obsessions Without Visible Compulsions: Sufferers often have unwanted obsessions regarding sexual, religious, or aggressive themes. Triggers related to these obsessions are usually avoided at all costs.
- Symmetry Obsessions with Ordering, Arranging and Counting Compulsions: People suffering from this symptom subtype may feel a strong need to rearrange objects constantly. It can also involve thinking or saying sentences or words repeatedly until one feels it has been accomplished perfectly.
- Hoarding: This symptom subtype involves the collection of items of little or no value until one’s living space is consumed with so much clutter it becomes difficult to live in. This is often accompanied by obsessive fears of losing items that one feels may be needed one day.
Some factors that may increase the risk of triggering OCD may include:
- Family history. Family members with the disorder can increase your risk of developing OCD.
- Stressful life events. This reaction may sometimes trigger the intrusive thoughts, rituals, and emotional distress associated with OCD.
- Other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse disorders.
The exact cause of OCD still is not fully understood by science. Some theories include:
- Biology. OCD may simply be a result of changes in your body or brain communication.
- Genetics. While OCD may have a genetic component, specific genes have yet to be identified.
- Environment. Some factors, such as infections and severe inflammation, have been suggested as a trigger for OCD, but more research is still needed.