Types of OCD
Early onsetEarly onset OCD develops before puberty. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one-third of people with OCD are early onset. In this subtype, compulsive behaviors are often present before obsessions and can be more severe/frequent than in OCD that onsets during adulthood. Early-onset OCD has also been found to be associated with an increased likelihood of tics and other mental health conditions. It also tends to run in families, suggesting there may be a genetic component.
TIC-RelatedAccording to some estimates, as many as 40% of people with early-onset OCD also have tic-related OCD. Tics are sudden, rapid, repetitive, non-functional motor behaviors or vocalizations often preceded by sensations that are relieved by tic expression, not unlike scratching an itch. Common motor tics include behaviors such as eye blinking and head jerking, while common phonic tics include throat clearing and grunting. These behaviors are mostly involuntary. Tic-related OCD has a significant likelihood of co-occurring with the neurological condition Tourette syndrome, and it is believed that they may have related mechanisms in the brain. Tic OCD is most common among men, and people with this type of OCD often exhibit symptoms related to symmetry, intrusive thoughts, and hoarding.
HoardingHoarding is characterized by persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, even though they are often perceived by others as useless. This behavior usually has many harmful effects on the person hoarding, family members, and friends. Children who grow up in hoarding households may be quite embarrassed and avoid having friends over to the home. Hoarding is quite often more serious than other types of OCD and people who suffer may have a greater degree of impaired functioning. Moreover, hoarders seem to less aware of the reality of their problems and are also at a higher risk for substance abuse, binge eating, and social anxiety.
ContaminationOn the flip side of hoarding is contamination OCD, which involves the compulsion to clean or wash something, such as hands, in response to the obsession that other things are contaminated and will cause illness. A person with this time of OCD might worry about dirty countertops, door knobs, and other items (especially in public places) that they or their loved ones might come into contact with. To deal with obsessive fears, someone who experiences contamination OCD might compulsively:
- Throw things away unnecessarily
- Clean or sanitize things
- Excessively wash hands or brush teeth
- Change clothes often
- Avoid public places or touching certain objects
ScrupulosityFor some people, OCD exhibits religious or moral symptoms, such as:
- Seeing immorality everywhere
- Unwanted sinful thoughts, such as about the devil
- Excessive doubt about whether or not one has committed a sin
- Taking a religious routine to an extreme, such as going to confession too often