Types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Overview.

The obsessions and compulsive actions can show themselves to different degrees and in different ways.

The following types of obsessive-compulsive disorder can occur:


People who suffer from an obsession with control feel compelled to check everything. Often these are situations (which “have to be checked”) that could endanger the safety of oneself or of other people. Which includes:

  • locking the front door
  • electronic devices in the home that cannot be switched off
  • the light in the house.

We all know the feeling of wondering whether, for example, you have switched off the iron. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder do not let go of this thought.
People feel compelled by their thoughts and impulses to look again and again to see whether something has been forgotten about them.
If people with obsessive-compulsive disorder did not look up, pronounced fears with strong physical symptoms (tremors, palpitations, sweating, etc.) would be a possible consequence.


Those affected always need an order, symmetry or order in their life. Any objects are precisely organized by the persons concerned.
This behavior is subject to strict rules that must be observed by the person concerned. These rules help those affected to keep everyday life in order. The behavior continues until the order is perfect for them.

Compulsory cleanliness / compulsory washing

Of the Compulsory washing represents a form of Obsessive-compulsive disorder The affected people feel compelled to repeatedly wash their own body or individual body parts (e.g. hands) or certain objects.
Further information on this topic can be found at: Compulsory washing

Further constraints

Compulsion to touch

Those affected “have to” touch everything they see or avoid very much coming into contact with all kinds of objects.

Compulsory counting

People with my compulsion to count count all objects or, in general, all things they encounter in everyday life, e.g. Cars, people, Etc.

verbal compulsions

Those affected feel compelled to repeatedly utter certain sentences, melodies or expressions out loud, or to formulate them internally.

Example obsessive-compulsive disorder

For Mr. M. it has already become a daily routine. As soon as he gets up and leaves the apartment, the first symptoms appear. Mr M. wants to walk the five meters to his car to drive off, but now the thoughts arise that force him to re-enter the apartment.
He felt a sense of fear that he had forgotten to unplug his iron from the socket. Although he is very conscientious and reliable, he doubts his behavior and can't help but look again. When he has verified several times that the iron is off, he can calm down a bit and drives to work in the car.
At first it was a nuisance for Mr. M., now there is no day for him without his control behavior. He “has to” check again and again whether everything is really switched off. For some time now, Mr. M. has had to check several times that he has locked the front door every time he leaves his house.
It is characteristic that Mr M.'s behavior is repeated over and over again, although when he first looked it up he noticed that everything was switched off and the door was locked. Mr M. reports of a great deal of suffering that the compulsive behavior triggers in him.
Due to his compulsion, he often does not manage to show up on time for his appointments, as his compulsive behavior takes up a lot of his day.

Did you know ...

  • The most common forms of obsession are Control and the Compulsory washing.
  • The majority of washing compulsions arise spontaneously.
  • Control compulsions usually develop over a longer period of time.
  • In the past, obsessive-compulsive disorder was considered hardly treatable, today most of the affected respond successfully to drug and / or psychological treatments.
  • Nevertheless, 85% of obsessive-compulsive disorder develop into a chronic clinical picture.
  • Reason: usually too late insight into the disease by those affected and thus a late visit to therapists or doctors.
  • 50% of those affected are largely freed from obsessive-compulsive disorder in the long term through treatment.
  • Women suffer from washing compulsions more often.
  • Men increasingly suffer from the need to control.


In summary, it is important for constraints between Obsessive thoughts and Compulsions to distinguish.

Obsessive thoughts are thoughts that occur repeatedly and persist for a long time. Furthermore, they can also appear in the form of impulses or ideas. Those affected perceive the obsessive thoughts, impulses or ideas as impairing and inappropriate at times. In the situation, however, those affected are often unable to immediately end the compulsive thoughts, impulses or ideas.

Examples: counting, repeating words

Compulsions show up in the form of certain behaviors that occur repeatedly in a very short time. Most of the time, the person concerned feels compelled to act due to obsessive thoughts or impulses. These behaviors are regarded as rules to be strictly followed and are therefore carried out by those concerned.

Examples: control behavior, compulsory washing, compulsory cleanliness, compulsory order