How Does OCD Manifest Itself?


OCD, otherwise known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a widespread mental illness that impacts the lives of individuals of various ages and backgrounds. It manifests as a repetitive cycle of intrusive obsessions and compulsive behaviors.

Unpleasant urges, all-co0nsuming thoughts, or mental images are the sources of overwhelming, sometimes debilitating stress and anxiety. As a means of desperately ridding themselves of this cycle of obsessions and alleviating negative emotions, individuals with OCD spend much time acting on compulsions. Below is an explanation of a few OCD subtypes.

Self-Harming OCD

Deeply bothered, even fixated on thoughts of violent scenarios, individuals with Self-Harming OCD experience extreme difficulty shaking these spontaneous, random thoughts that individuals without OCD can easily ignore.

Possible 'Obsessions' may look like the following:

  • I could swerve into oncoming traffic right now.
  • I could shoot someone just to see what would happen.
  • What if I jumped out of this window?
  • What if I got blackout drunk just for the fun of it?

Possible 'Compulsions' may look like the following:

  • Refusing to cross busy intersections
  • Keeping all sharp household objects locked up and out of view
  • Constantly getting the underside of your car to ensure there's nothing dangerous under it, such as explosives
  • Compulsively doing welfare checks on loved ones

Romantic Commitment (Relationship) OCD

Regarding relationships, individuals with Relationship OCD are highly inflexible, timid, and even paranoid regarding unknown factors of being intimate with a romantic partner. Adhering to unrealistic, perfectionistic ideals, these individuals fixate on the anxious 'what-if' scenarios of being with their partner.

Possible 'Obsessions' may look like the following:

  • When will I know if this person is my soulmate?
  • Are they going to leave me once someone better comes along?
  • How can I predict what the future holds for us?
  • What if my love for them is more substantial than their love for me?

Possible 'Compulsions' may look like the following:

  • Relying solely on casual online relationship quizzes to determine compatibility alone
  • Comparing the relationships of social media influences or celebrities against your own
  • Ruminating on and overthinking conversations and situations; is there a hidden meaning to what they said? Did I make the best possible impression on the first date?

Germaphobic OCD

This type of OCD, otherwise known as 'Contamination' OCD, is amongst the most notorious yet debilitating subtypes. Cleanliness in all aspects is the focal point of this person's lifestyle. It manifests in various aspects and degrees, ranging from getting themselves or someone sick to life-threatening illness or even death from exposure to germs.

Possible 'Compulsions' may look like the following:

  • I will contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease from kissing my date
  • Not washing my hands with scolding hot water will immediately make me sick.
  • Stepping foot in a public restroom is something I will never do.

Possible 'Obsessions' may look like the following:

  • Thoroughly sanitizing each surface or object after each use
  • Avoiding eating at someone else's home
  • Avoiding public, confined spaces for extended periods