There really are not different types of OCD, but there are different areas where OCD thoughts and behaviors may be concentrated. Some of these areas include the following:
• Washing and cleaning: If you compulsively wash and clean, you may have a fear of either getting contaminated or passing a contaminant on to others. To counteract this, you might engage in excessive washing and cleaning to try to remove any germs that were received or could be passed on (e.g., washing your hands with alcohol every time you take the garbage out).
• Hoarding: You may resist throwing out items because such objects could have a possible use in the future. A variation of this includes having difficulty getting rid of items because money was spent on them, or maybe some meaning is associated with the objects, and thus losing them would mean the loss of a memory (e.g., losing a souvenir T-shirt from my 1988 stay at Sunny Brook Farm will mean that I will forget all about my vacation).
• Checking: This compulsion includes needing to repeatedly check items such as locks, windows, doors, or potentially dangerous appliances (e.g., stoves) to be sure they are safe, locked, or secured in order to prevent damage to yourself or others (for instance, checking 10 times to make sure the windows are locked so that no one can break into your home).
• Scrupulosity: The fears associated with scrupulosity deal with the possibility that you have somehow offended a higher power. The resulting compulsive behaviors that you perform (constant praying, confessing, and so on) are designed to get you back into the good graces of that higher power.
• Aggression: The fear of harming others often results in compulsive behaviors to ensure that you do not, or did not, actually hurt anyone (e.g., not allowing your own children to sit on your lap for fear that you may molest them).