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The Different Types Of OCD

A person contemplating the different types of OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a form of anxiety disorder where a person experiences recurring distressing thoughts, known as obsessions. They then complete ritual actions, called compulsions, to manage the anxiety the thoughts trigger. Under this broad definition, there are also different types of OCD. The good news is that effective OCD treatment is available.

If you or your loved one could use help with OCD and/or substance abuse in Washington State, reach out to Northpoint Seattle by calling 888.483.6031. Our caring team welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions about OCD and other treatment needs.

What Are the Different Forms of OCD?

Facing the possibility of an OCD diagnosis may feel frightening or difficult to manage, but getting informed is a great first step toward taking back control of your life. As with any mental health condition, OCD need not dominate your life. With effective treatment and self-compassion, you, and not your OCD, can take hold of the reins of your day-to-day experience. All forms of OCD are treatable and patients tend to show significant success when they commit to therapy and stick with their goals over time.

Disorder Subtypes

Beyond exploring the basis of OCD, a helpful first step is to get to know the disorder’s various subtypes, which include:

  • Ordering OCD in which individuals fixate on symmetry or other aesthetic features and spend a lot of time on cleaning or arranging compulsions
  • Contamination OCD in which fear of germs, decay, dirt, and the like causes significant anxiety and compulsions such as handwashing, sanitizing, or avoiding “dirty” places
  • “Just Right” OCD in which individuals severely doubt their perceptions and persistently feel incomplete, repeating actions related to safety such as locking doors or turning stove dials to try to reduce their pervasive dread
  • Relational OCD in which fears center on relationships with loved ones and compulsions often involve asking for reassurance or “confessing” behaviors deemed minor infractions
  • Harm OCD in which individuals struggle with unwanted thoughts of engaging in violence or inappropriate sexual behavior and thus avoid people they deem vulnerable

No form of OCD is more or less severe than another. All of them can cause significant distress and distorted perceptions and behavior. It’s important to exercise self-compassion if you’re struggling with OCD and strive to be patient and empathetic if your loved one is coping with it. With time and effective care, symptoms can abate and become more manageable.

What Are Some Major Treatment Options for OCD?

There are currently three major approaches to OCD treatment. The first is exposure and response prevention (ERP), essentially an offshoot of exposure therapy commonly used for phobias. Here, therapists help their patients systematically face and engage with things they’ve been avoiding or doing with great discomfort due to OCD. By gradually building tolerance and comfort over time, the patient gains greater and greater freedom and access to a full life experience.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is another key treatment strategy for OCD. ACT focuses on balancing accepting one’s reality and making changes that foster the life you truly want to live based on your values. Since OCD is largely fear-based, those affected often lose sight of what they truly enjoy and want to pursue in life. ACT can help them get back in touch with this and begin making more and more choices from a place of calm, desire, and genuine interest rather than a place of fear and avoidance. Another key feature in ACT treatment involves self-acceptance for thoughts and feelings that arise rather than aversion. Patients may thus practice awareness-building techniques such as naming their emotions and thoughts or keeping a journal.

Finally, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help many people with OCD. This technique recognizes the link between thoughts, feelings, and behavior and strives to reduce excessively harsh or over-simplified self-assessments. CBT patients learn to identify self-limiting or non-factual thoughts or feelings and reframe them in a more holistic and rational light. This can help them develop resilience to intrusive thoughts and ultimately dismiss them without engaging in compulsions.

Contact Northpoint Recovery Today for OCD Treatment

If you or a loved one is living with OCD, remember that quality assistance is available to you. Call Northpoint Seattle today to begin accessing resources or get a referral if needed. It’s quite common for anxiety disorders like OCD, as well as various other mental health concerns, to co-occur with substance abuse. We therefore offer dual diagnosis treatment to meet all your needs simultaneously. Our staff knows that the best odds of successful recovery come from this wrap-around form of caregiving that reduces the odds of an unaddressed issue triggering a relapse in another later on.

Northpoint Recovery’s caring staff looks forward to discussing the subtypes of OCD and treatment modalities with you further. Call 888.483.6031 or use our online contact form to get your questions answered or begin the intake process for OCD treatment and/or substance abuse recovery.