OCD Abbreviations

Learning about a mental illness either as someone recently diagnosed or as their family/friends can be overwhelming. Trying to find and understand all of the new information should be as easy as possible, rather than adding to feeling overwhelmed. The language about OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is definitely loaded with many abbreviations.

To make understanding all of these abbreviations easier here is a cheat sheet full of definitions and links to resources! Hopefully this can be a useful tool for someone first learning about OCD or for anyone looking for more information.

ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder; a disorder sometimes confused with and sometimes comorbid with OCD


BDD: body dysmorphic disorder; a disorder related to OCD


BFRBs: body focused repetitive behaviors; a grouping of disorders related to and sometimes comorbid with OCD (includes trichotillomania, dermatillomania, and others)


CBT: cognitive behavioral therapy; a type of therapy often included in the treatment of OCD


CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; a federal agency in the US focused on public health initiatives and research


DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; the manual used to diagnose mental disorders in the US


ED: eating disorder; a group of disorders sometimes comorbid with OCD



ERP (therapy): exposure and response prevention (therapy); a therapy used to effectively treat OCD


GAD: generalized anxiety disorder; a disorder sometimes comorbid with OCD


IOCDF: International OCD Foundation; a nonprofit foundation focused on OCD based out of Boston, Massachusetts


MDD: major depressive disorder; a disorder sometimes comorbid with OCD


NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness; a US organization for mental health


NIMH: National Institute of Mental Health; a research institution in the US focused on mental illness


OCD: obsessive-compulsive disorder



OCD Action: a UK charity focused on OCD


OCD-UK: a UK charity focused on OCD


OCD Youth: a resource for young people with OCD through OCD Action


OCPD: obsessive-compulsive personality disorder; a personality disorder often confused with OCD


PANDAS/PANS: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections/ Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome


SUDS: subjective units of distress; a 0-10 or 0-100 scale used to rate anxiety, often during an exposure


Trich: trichotillomania; a condition sometimes comorbid with OCD


TS/Tourettes: Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, or just Tourette syndrome; a syndrome sometimes comorbid with OCD



 Great information about the differences between OCD and disorders related to or commonly confused with OCD:


Below are names/initialisms of a few OCD subtypes sometimes used in the OCD community. Everyone’s OCD can be very unique and this list is not exclusive. Still these terms can be useful when OCD follows a common pattern or theme for many people.

Checking OCD: when the compulsions are primarily checking behaviors


Contamination OCD: when the obsessions/fears focus on becoming contaminated or ill


Harm OCD: when the obsession focuses on a fear of harming others or yourself


HOCD: homosexual OCD; when the obsession focuses on a fear of being gay (Note: The fear is about not being who you know you are, not of gay individuals. People with HOCD are typically not homophobic.)


Hyper-awareness OCD: 


Just right OCD: 


POCD: pedophile OCD or prenatal/postnatal OCD

pedophile OCD: http://www.louisvilleocdclinic.com/pocd.php

prenatal/postnatal OCD: http://www.ocduk.org/prenatal-postnatal-ocd

Pure O: Primarily/Purely obsessional OCD (note: The name results from the misconception that this subtype of OCD involves mostly obsessions but not compulsions. In reality it involves both, just like other cases of OCD.)


ROCD: relationship OCD; when the obsessions are focused on relationships


Scrupulosity OCD: when the obsessions are focused on morality or religion



  1. Great idea on the abbreviations Morgan – there are a lot of them and listing the most important ones is something that could help a lot of people just beginning to struggle with OCD.

    Liked by 1 person

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