Types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is characterized by persistent anxious or apprehensive thoughts and repetitive behaviors to ease the anxiety felt by the afflicted person, affects approximately 2 percent of the population in the United States (Rapoport).  While many misconceptions exist regarding what obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is, those that are afflicted with the disorder can suffer from a variety of symptoms.

There are five types of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that are recognized by the medical community. Each type of OCD has its own set of symptoms, while some symptoms may be shared by all or most sufferers of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The five types of obsessive- compulsive disorder are:


Checkers live in constant fear that they will forget to do something; or that if they do not do certain things, something tragic will happen.  This fear leads them to constant check and recheck things like door locks, stoves, light switches, etc.  Checkers become so obsessed with protecting themselves from perceived harm that they develop elaborate rituals for doing things.


Washers/cleaners tend to live in a fear of germs and contamination. They will repeatedly wash their hands or take showers because they are worried that they are not clean.  A washer/cleaner may also repeatedly clean their house excessively in order to rid their home of germs or anything else that may harm them.


People afflicted with this type of OCD are obsessed with everything being in perfect balance.  They will tend to arrange things to be in what they deem to be the perfect arrangement.  Orderers tend to feel stressed and/or depressed when things are out of their perfect order.


Those diagnosed as suffering from the obsessional type of obsessive-compulsive disorder tend to suffer from intrusive and persistent thoughts of harming others.  These thoughts can be so persistent that they interfere with daily life.

Obsessionals may often be seen repeating prayers, words or numbers as a way to keep their mind busy and suppress the offensive thoughts.


Hoarders tend to have houses full of stuff that they do not need. They often do not like to throw things away out of the fear that it may be valuable to them one day.  Often, their living space is cluttered with trash and other worthless things that they will never need.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, regardless of the type, can interfere with a person’s daily live and activities.  If you or someone you know suffers from any of aforementioned symptoms, it is recommended that you discuss it with your physician.


Rapoport, Judith. “Obsessive-compulsive disorder.” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. N.p., May 2003. Web. 11 Aug 2011.