Understanding the Different Types of OCD

Have you noticed your child exhibiting some excessive or repetitious behaviors? These actions could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a type of anxiety disorder. It can begin at any time from toddler through adulthood. The main symptoms are typically obsessive thoughts, urges, feelings of distress, and performing repeated behaviors to calm anxiety. Typically, people with this condition find temporary relief after completing the behaviors. The stress from this disorder can cause other linked symptoms, such as OCD and heart palpitations.

There are four main categories of OCD:

1. Checking Compulsions

Checking compulsions are common OCD symptoms. Sufferers are constantly worried that they forgot to do something important, such as turn the oven off or locking the door. They may merely feel that something isn’t right and must redo or check it until it does. 

2. Cleaning and Contamination

Some people with OCD worry excessively about getting sick or dying. Therefore, potential germs are a significant source of anxiety. Part of this distress can also be worrying about making loved ones ill. These obsessions cause the person to feel the need to excessively wash themselves (i.e., handwashing) and/or clean their surroundings. This fear of germs can also cause significant challenges in daily life, resulting from anxiety about going in public; the fear of encountering germs, particularly in doctor’s offices and around children, is very real. 

3. Intrusive Thoughts and Mental Rituals

Intrusive thoughts can overwhelm OCD sufferers, such as negative, violent images. Understandably, these thoughts can be incredibly disturbing. Mental rituals are also common in people with OCD, such as repeating lucky words, apologizing, or praying. These are ways of potentially “canceling out” the thoughts they worry are immoral. If your child has this type of OCD, mindfulness apps for kids can be beneficial for learning to meditate, clear their mind and calm down. This form of OCD tends to present more severe obsessions than other types of the disorder. However, usually, there aren’t many, if any, compulsions.

4. Symmetry, Counting and Ordering

People with OCD can be obsessively preoccupied with being exact, arranging things to put them in order or another pattern that feels comfortable. Often, others describe them as perfectionists. In addition to physically arranging objects, this type of OCD can consist of mental arranging. Counting and repeatedly tapping and touching are common. Many people believe that something someone says, thinks or does can cause a completely unrelated event to occur or not.

Unfortunately, OCD can make people feel extremely alone and even believe they’re going insane. Many assume that their situation is hopeless. Speaking with your child, telling them there are countless other people in the world with this disorder can help to relieve some of this anxiety. Additionally, research in OCD has made treating it highly effective over the years. Therapy and/or medications can help, depending on the individual and the type and severity of their disorder.

Childhood can be a challenge for everyone, but especially for individuals with disorders like OCD. There are options to try, though. Research products online that may help you avoid prescription medications, such as Brillia for hyperactivity and other conditions.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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