Sub-types of OCD
There are five OCD categories which are divided by the types of compulsions and obsessions that people with OCD have: Washers, Checkers, Doubters and sinners, Counters and arrangers, and hoarders.
Washers fear germs and contamination to either themselves or others, and often have hand washing compulsions (Obsessive Compulsive, 2019).
Checkers repetitively check locks and appliances because they fear that something bad will happen if they don’t. They may fear that if they don’t lock the door, their house will be robbed or someone will hurt their family members.
Doubters and Sinners are afraid that they will be punished if everything isn’t done perfectly. Part of their ritual can include obsessive prayer.
Counters and Arrangers can have obsessions based around certain numbers or colors. These are often the people who are the popular culture stereotype of OCD. Counters and arrangers are the ones that have a house that is organized in a very specific way.
Hoarders compulsively keep things they don’t need and could never use all of (Obsessive Compulsive, 2019).
Other names for this Disorder
Diagnostic Criteria for OCD
Diagnostic Criteria from the DSM-V
The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 is the mental health disorder diagnostic tool used by many mental health professionals. It defines OCD as the presence of “Obsessions, compulsions, or both.” Obsessions are defined by the DSM-5 section (300.3) as “Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion) (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). ” This means that the thoughts these individuals have cause them stress and anxiety until they can suppress them with a compulsion. Compulsions are defined as “Repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly. The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).” This means that individuals engage in compulsions that don’t always make sense to the people around them.
According to the American Brain Society, some people may have a genetic predisposition to OCD. Other possible causes are differences in brain structure, high levels of stress, childhood abuse and/or trauma, and bacterial infections (2019). Genetic statistics from several studies suggest that of the people studied, 37% of people with OCD also had a parent with OCD, and 21% of people with OCD also have siblings with the disorder (American Brain Society, 2019).