Some Common Forms of OCD

These OCD manifestations are amongst the most common…


Between the charismatic television depictions and snappy documentaries it can sometimes be hard to get to grips with the real manifestations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Unlike the oddball traits that many writers use to add a ‘quirky’ charm to their creations, an obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition that absorbs a person’s conscious thoughts, making it near impossible for them to think about anything else. Some of the forms that OCD take might be visible from the outside, whereas others will be completely internal and therefore harder to spot.

People living with OCD might well have to deal with a number of these conditions simultaneously with many of them feeding into each other.

This is a rundown of some of the more common OCD manifestations, although it’s important to remember that this is by no means an exhaustive list:


Most people have a natural dislike of being dirty, we all try to avoid contaminating ourselves and wash our hands as a way to stay on top of this and for most people that’s where their thoughts concerning these matters end. An obsession of contamination can seriously affect a person’s life, compulsions include repeated washing, cleaning surfaces or simply avoiding contact with inanimate objects such as door handles, banisters or money. This particular manifestation can lead to a person developing an agoraphobic lifestyle, damaging their body with repeated cleaning and social isolation.


Although hoarding is often seen as a separate condition unto itself, the root of this manifestation lies in an obsessive compulsion to collect and store items. The root of this particular manifestation can vary from mental trauma to genetic traits, however the symptoms are usually the same across the board and often lead to serious health and safety implications. A person who hoards will start small, usually collecting items to ease their their anxiety however as their problems build they lean more on their compulsion, thus collecting more belongings to the point where their entire living space may be dominated by them.

Intrusive Thoughts

Most people experience intrusive thoughts from time to time. These are the odd notions and ideas that might flit into our minds completely at random, they might be pleasant (a prolonged fantasy of winning the lottery) or negative (verbally abusing a loved one) but often they are gone before we are given any chance to seriously consider their meaning. In an OCD context these intrusive thoughts are constant and more often than not unpleasant, such as the persistent thought of hurting another person, or the fear of being sexually attracted to children. These thoughts are never acted upon and are never associated with an impulsion to act upon them, but they can nonetheless cause an individual extreme stress.


Anxiety is at the root of nearly all obsessive compulsions and are most noticeable in the case of ‘checking’. Although some may claim to be ‘a bit OCD’ when it comes to checking that their home is secured or that they’ve turned the oven off, those who truly have a ‘checking’ compulsion will end up having their entire life revolve around their checking routine. Some may check their memory for reassurance that they have not done something wrong, others might constantly check the taps in their home for fear of flooding – as in most cases, the person will not cease their compulsions until they ‘feel’ that they are reassured.

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