Can the Focus of OCD Change Over Time?

Can the primary focus (obsessions and compulsions) of OCD evolve over time? In other words, can you suffer from multiple forms of OCD? I’m here to tell you that the answer is YES!

Categories of OCD

OCD can present itself in numerous ways, although most individuals will find themselves in one of five categories. These include:

  • Checking
  • Contamination
  • Symmetry and Ordering
  • Ruminations/Intrusive Thoughts
  • Hoarding

*For more information regarding this subject, check out OCD-UK’s article, “Types of OCD,” which can be found here.

So while an individual may find themselves identifying with one of the above categories, this does not mean that it will be permanent. In fact, many people may fall into two or more categories with lots of overlapping.

Living Proof

I consider myself as living proof that OCD can evolve and change over time. For example, as a teenager, I fit neatly into the ‘checking’ category. I found myself constantly checking the stove, oven, curling iron, and other appliances. I also repeatedly checked doors to make sure they were indeed locked. This lasted several years before slowly fading away. But it didn’t end there; contamination OCD quickly swooped in to take its place. The primary focus of my OCD is now on germs, contamination, and cleanliness (although on rare occasions, the checking resurfaces).  So you see, OCD can take on many forms and jump from one category to the next.

So What is the Takeaway?

I want you to understand that if you feel like the focus of your OCD is all over the place, you are not alone. It’s okay! Who wants to be tied down with labels anyway? OCD is certainly not a one-size-fits-all type of thing, so let’s not treat it like one!


Much love,



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