Obsessive compulsive disorder is comparable to a strange addiction to repeatedly performing a series of actions. This repetition is usually unnecessary and interferes with daily life. Those who have obsessive compulsive disorder commonly fall into 5 main categories, which are: washers, checkers, doubters & sinners, counters and arrangers, and hoarders. Washers are identified by their constant cleaning and washing habits. Checkers are noted for their need to constantly check to make sure things are turned off or closed, among others. Doubters & sinners have a fearful desire to ensure things are perfect. Counters & arrangers are obsessed with symmetry of objects, colors and numbers. Hoarders are identified by their fear of throwing anything they own away. This article will provide a brief outline of these different types of obsessive compulsive disorders.
Washers:Washers constantly worry about contamination and spreading pathogens. They constantly need to wipe, clean and de-contaminate surfaces and hands. Washers regularly perform rituals which involve the frequent washing of hands & taking showers, the frequent washing of clothes & household fabrics, as well as the repetitive cleaning of the house. These OCD symptoms are generally treated using a method called exposure and response prevention. In this method, the washer patient would be exposed to a circumstance that triggers the compulsion, such as touching dirty garbage. After this, the patient would not be allowed to wash their hands for a certain period of time. Gradually, this length of time is increased, until the patient is able to confidently resist the urge to wash.
Checkers: Checkers constantly worry about accidentally putting themselves or someone else in danger. For example, they may frequently check that lights are turned off, doors are shut or their oven is properly turned off when it is not in use. In addition, checkers may even constantly look for mistakes in their writing, such as in an email they may want to send. Cognitive therapy is a highly effective treatment for this type of OCD. During cognitive therapy, participants identify and re-examine beliefs about the potential consequences of engaging or not engaging in compulsive behavior. During this process, the beliefs and attitudes of participants are positively changed so that the need to impulse is significantly reduced.
Doubters & Sinners: Doubters & sinners have a pertinent desire to make sure that everything in their life is done perfectly. The fear that something terrible will happen if they do not ensure perfection, is often the reason behind the desire. For example, an individual may use a lawnmower to cut the grass on his/her lawn, but feel that all of the blades must be the exact same length. So, the person may painstakingly cut every grass blade to ensure perfection. Individuals will often perform such rituals, regardless of the time or effort required. Cognitive therapy is also highly effective for this type of OCD.
Counters & Arrangers: Counters and arrangers are obsessed with numbers and symmetry. An individual may perform a set of actions an exact number of times, like smoking exactly 5 cigarettes a day or planning a route to work that involves exactly 3 right turns. Also, individuals may constantly count objects like floor tiles, steps or even cars passing by on the street. When eating a meal, food items may be orderly arranged so that the plate is perfectly symmetrical. The belief that numbers and symmetry has divine and spiritual significance is often the purpose for such behaviors. Common medications for treating this type of OCD include mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. Cognitive therapy is often used in conjunction with these medications.
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If you, a loved one or someone you know is experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms of OCD, be sure to speak with a medical professional to determine the best course treatment for the condition. For individuals who prefer to learn more about the condition types and self-help methods, the book "The OCD Workbook:Your Guide To Break Free From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" by Bruce Hyman, is a great place to start. Thank you for reading, and I wish you all the best on your journey.