All About OCD

OCD Subtypes

As you have likely gathered by now, OCD is complex and frankly, pretty horrid. It also presents in a variety of ways, known as OCD subtypes or common themes. It’s important to note that if your particular theme isn’t listed, don’t fret. It’s not so much about the content with OCD, it’s about how you respond to it. Below are just some of the OCD subtypes people can experience:

  • OCD Subtype

    Suicidal OCD

    Suicidal OCD — fears that you will harm yourself, and worrying that because you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you are more likely to act on them.

  • OCD Subtype

    Magical thinking OCD

    Magical thinking OCD — fearing you will be responsible for something bad happening if you do not perform certain actions or rituals. For example, ‘if I don’t touch wood after I experience a negative thought, my partner will die.’ There is often no logical connection between the fear and the action performed.

  • OCD Subtype

    Contamination OCD

    Contamination OCD — fears of becoming contaminated, contaminating others or contracting and spreading disease. Viruses, germs and dirt can be common fears, but they can also include things like asbestos, bodily fluids, household chemicals and many other things. People can also experience emotional contamination- worrying that thinking or talking about a disease, for example, could contaminate someone.

  • OCD Subtype

    Pure OCD

    Pure Obsessional OCD ( “Pure O”) — Experiencing obsessions without observable compulsions, but instead with mental compulsions, such as reviewing feelings, thoughts or conversations, or trying to reassure yourself that everything is ok.

  • OCD Subtype

    Harm OCD

    Harm OCD — Obsessing that you have harmed someone, or want to harm yourself or someone else. Common Harm OCD obsessions focus on the fear that one might purposefully cause harm, such as stabbing someone, or accidentally causing harm, such as running over a pedestrian while driving.

  • OCD Subtype


    Sexual Orientation OCD (HOCD) — Obsessing that your sexual orientation is not what you think it should be. For people who identify as heterosexual, HOCD focuses on obsessions that they are secretly gay or bisexual. Likewise, there are also people who identify as gay or bisexual who obsess that they are secretly attracted to a person of the opposite sex.

  • OCD Subtype


    Trans OCD (TOCD) — Obsessing that your gender is not what you think it should be. For most people with Trans OCD, the fear is that they are secretly transgender. However, there are also people who are transgender who obsess that they are in denial and that they are actually cis-gender.

  • OCD Subtype


    Pedophile OCD (POCD) — Obsessing that you are secretly a pedophile. It is important to note that people with POCD are not pedophiles, but are consumed by the fear that they ‘might’ be.

  • OCD Subtype


    Relationship OCD (ROCD) — Obsessing that you actually do not love your spouse or partner, frequently questioning the ‘rightness’ of relationships, or convincing yourself that you are secretly not attracted to your partner. In some cases, the obsessions in ROCD may involve non-romantic relationships such as friends or family members.

  • OCD Subtype

    Religious Scrupulosity

    Religious Scrupulosity — Obsessing that you are not living your life in perfect accordance with the rules of your religious faith. Religious Scrupulosity can occur in people of any faith.

  • OCD Subtype

    Moral Scrupulosity

    Moral Scrupulosity — The fear that you are not living according to your personal beliefs or values and being consumed with doing the ‘right’ thing at all times.

  • OCD Subtype


    Perinatal/Postpartum OCD (pOCD) — This kind of OCD focuses on the newborn (or yet to be born) infant. Thoughts might include harming the baby, the baby getting sick, or losing the baby. Again, it is worth stressing that the person experiencing these thoughts won’t harm their baby; instead they are just so distressed about their thoughts because they want their baby to remain safe.

  • It's important to note that most people with OCD suffer from multiple subtypes at one time, and the subtypes they suffer from can change over time.

    These are just some OCD subtypes, more subtypes can be found at or NOCD.

Where to next?