An individual may receive the diagnosis of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) if they feel compelled to constantly complete unnecessary actions and consistently experience the same thoughts over and over again. These are just two of the symptoms of this chronic psychiatric disorder. These compulsions are often a source of stress and mental fatigue for those with OCD.
Quite often, the only way for an individual with OCD to find relief from these obsessions is to give into them. However, this relief is brief and before long they are under mental strain to again repeat the task. These obsessions usually differ from one individual to the next, however most individuals are similar in that the tasks they are compelled to perform seem meaningless to others.
Different Types of OCD
Each individual is unique—if they have OCD, this also applies to their compulsions and obsessions. While there are no official categories for the various types of OCD, common symptoms for this disorder are often divided into 4 dimensions including: compulsively cleaning, constantly organizing, experiencing intrusive thoughts, and being unable to throw anything away. These 4 areas are often called symptom dimensions by mental health professionals.
Needing to Clean and Contain
This OCD symptom dimension covers fears about being physically or mentally unclean, becoming contaminated, or becoming ill. Most people with OCD deal with these fears by constantly cleaning themselves and items in their environment, even when everything is already clean. They may also feel compelled to throw away anything their mind perceives as “unclean.” People who experience this dimension of OCD tend to actively stay away from anything that might be considered contaminated.
Keeping Everything Organized and Symmetrical
Anyone obsessed with organizing and keeping everything symmetrical falls within this OCD dimension. These symptoms usually compel the people experiencing them to constantly arrange and reorganize items within their environment. This process is usually very time-consuming, and the individual won’t feel at peace until everything is arranged just so.
When their system is disrupted, someone with these OCD symptoms usually experiences stress and anxiety. The mental strain comes from a conviction that if things are out of order, something bad will happen. The obsession with symmetry often extends beyond arranging tangible items—actions and physical attributes are often included in this dimension.
Experiencing Intrusive Thoughts
OCD symptoms in this dimension involve inescapable sexual, fear-based, and/or violent thoughts. It is common for the individual experiencing these thoughts to feel guilty and ashamed immediately afterward. In the wake of these distressing thoughts, people with these symptoms yearn for affirmation from those around them. They want someone to tell them that they are a good individual who would never harm anyone. It’s also common for people with intrusive thoughts to seek comfort in religious or moral practices, performing rituals in the hopes that this will help them “control” their overwhelming thoughts.
Never Throwing Anything Away
Hoarding is the OCD symptom in this dimension. People in this dimension often have a nagging fear that if they throw anything away, there will be consequences for either themselves or someone close to them. The result of this fear often involves the individual collecting duplicates of one item, even if that item is unnecessary or potentially harmful. Losing any of these items, no matter how insignificant they may seem, often results in an emotional reaction. Someone in this dimension of OCD may also react if any of their belongings are rearranged or moved.
Typical OCD Causes
Pinpointing what causes OCD is nearly impossible because of the many factors at play. While experts haven’t found the source of this condition, they have noticed circumstances that seem to increase the chances of someone developing OCD. Two of the main factors of this condition are genetics and environment. Someone with an immediate family member who has OCD is more likely to develop this disorder. An individual’s environment is also a key factor—studies indicate that there is a connection between someone experiencing trauma and developing OCD symptoms.
Case Management for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Life Adjustment Team implements treatment that includes evidence-based outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation. These programs have helped us create a case management plan that promotes teamwork between a client, the client’s family, therapist, psychiatrist, and the case managers on our Team.
The first step in case management for a client with OCD is to understand the symptoms they are experiencing and then provide them with mentorship. We work with each of our clients to create a strategy that meets their individual mental health goals. To this end, our Team has developed an effective Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This program was designed for people living with mental illnesses including OCD. The IOP brings someone with OCD into both individual and group therapy sessions, making use of modalities that are observational and evidenced-based. Our goal for each client is to help them develop the skills and habits necessary to manage their OCD symptoms, remove harmful habits, and create a life full of power and meaning.
Contact Life Adjustment Team
Here at LAT, we actively work towards helping our clients achieve their goals and realize their full potential in life. Our thorough training, extensive research, and 40 years of experience in community-based mobile psychiatric rehabilitation outreach make it possible for us to help each of our clients. We believe that anyone with OCD, regardless of their symptoms, can create a full and well-balanced life—the key is finding the right support. The clinicians at LAT are eager to use their training and experience to help our clients start living their best lives. Contact LAT today!