Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a debilitating type of anxiety disorder that can dramatically impact the scope of one’s entire life. The sufferer undergoes obsessions like overpowering thoughts or fears that can lead to repetitive, all-consuming behavioral patterns. Mistakenly, many turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms leading to addiction. Professional help at a dual diagnosis treatment center can alleviate both problems.

If you or someone you love is suffering from OCD and addiction, treatment is available. Call our nationally-recognized helpline at 866-812-8231. Our experienced counselors can help you find the treatment you need to live a healthier life. The call is toll-free, confidential and we are here to assist you 24/7.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?


Obsessive compulsive disorder is actually a broad category for a variety of behaviors and thought processes that are assessed by severity and frequency of occurrence. The condition is classified within anxiety disorders. The term obsessive refers to negative thoughts, ideas, or images that repeatedly occur despite recognition that they are excessive or illogical.

Compulsions are behaviors that one feels compelled to perform, even if the person tries to resist. Resistance brings intense anxiety until the behavior has been completed. These behaviors and thoughts create living life at the extremes. The obsession or compulsion makes normal flow of life impossible.

According to Mental Health America, scientists believe that there is a clear biological factor involved in those suffering from OCD. Most likely a combination of biological, environmental and social conditions contribute to the onset of OCD.

  • Biological – Obsessive compulsive disorder may be caused by changes in the body’s natural chemistry or brain functions. There may also be a genetic connection.
  • Environment – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may be caused by learned behavioral patterns borne to certain environments.
  • Low Serotonin Level – Serotonin is one of the chemicals in the brain. If the serotonin level is low, the brain performs irregularly. Many patients have responded favorably to medications that increase the serotonin level in the brain.

Family history, a stressful lifestyle, and pregnancy are conditions that can elevate the risk of triggering OCD. Research performed by the National Health Institute indicates that more than 2.2 million Americans currently suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

Obsessive categories and symptoms can include:

  • Aggression – fear of harm to self or others, stealing, or being responsible for something terrible
  • Germ or contamination – concern about germs or dirt, concern about others spreading disease, or disgust for bodily waste
  • Sexual – perverse images, content involves children, or aggressive sexual behavior
  • Hoarding
  • Body image
  • Symmetry – things need to be in the right place

Compulsive categories and symptoms can include:

  • Cleaning – ritualized hand washing, showering, or tooth brushing
  • Repeating – re-reading, re-writing, or the need to repeat an activity
  • Counting – repeating numbers
  • Mental rituals – list making, eating behaviors, touching or rubbing
    (source: YBOCS scale)

Not all treatment facilities have the ability to handle patients with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Yet, research shows that those addicts suffering with mental health disorders and addiction responded better to dual diagnosis treatment enabling them to manage their mental health symptoms and maintain abstinence longer.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Addiction

Research over the last two decades has revealed prevalence for those suffering from mental health disorders to also suffer from substance abuse, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or alcohol addiction. Because the symptoms of OCD may be difficult to live with, people with the disorder also suffer from other disorders such as depression, eating disorders and substance abuse. With a combination of conditions, the confluence of symptoms makes accurate diagnosis more difficult.

Sometimes, people without OCD will suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction and the use of substances can cause the onset of mental health disorders, such as OCD or panic attacks. Accurate diagnosis of all conditions is of great importance if the addict is to be able to manage his or her OCD as well as the addiction. Finding the right addiction treatment program is significant. Without treating both the OCD and the drug addiction or alcohol addiction in a dual diagnosis program, chances of relapse and the worsening of the mental health disorder symptoms is greater.

Oftentimes, diagnosis of the actual mental health disorder, is missed. Once that happens, the chances of a full recovery are diminished. Research has also shown that the rate of OCD is higher among addicts than it is among the general public.

Addiction worsens the symptoms of OCD. There is a better way to handle your feelings. Call 866-812-8231 and find treatment that will get your life back on the right track. Recovery Connection can help. Pick up the phone and call now.

Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Researchers in the 1990s consistently found that those addicts suffering with mental health disorders and addiction responded better to dual diagnosis treatment enabling them to manage their mental health symptoms and maintain abstinence longer. Not all addiction treatment facilities are able to manage the dually diagnosed individual. Finding a facility that is medically based, using best treatment practices can provide the OCD addict with the best possible substance abuse treatment and foundation for recovery.

Such dual diagnosis programs in addiction rehab should have medical staff with certification in addiction medicine as well as expertise in coexisting disorders, addiction and mental health disorders. Each patient should be regularly evaluated and the addiction treatment plan updated. Onsite medical staff including physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and clinical staff can address physiological and psychological changes as they occur.

Dual diagnosis treatment in addiction rehab including cognitive behavioral therapies in conjunction with pharmacotherapy can provide the best relief for both conditions.

OCD Treatment – Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proven to be one of the most effective means of treating patients with OCD. The therapy involves retraining the patient’s thought patterns and routines thus breaking their repetitive rituals.

An approach called Exposure and Response Prevention has also been particularly effective. This type of therapy gradually exposes the patient to the feared object or obsession under the careful supervision of the therapist. This technique teaches patients to deal with their anxiety in constructive ways.

Therapies also include:

  • Addiction education
  • OCD education
  • Lifeskills
  • Relapse prevention
  • Family therapy
  • Medication management
  • Aftercare

Certain psychiatric medications can assist patients in controlling their obsessions and compulsions. The Food and Drug Administration has approved several medication therapies for use in OCD treatment programs. The most common medications are:

  • Clomipramine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline

Looking For Treatment?

The counselors at Recovery Connection can help you find the dual diagnosis treatment you need to manage your obsessive compulsive disorder. Just pick up the phone and call us toll-free at 866-812-8231. The call is confidential and we are available to assist you find an addiction treatment program that can address all your needs.

24/7 all conversations are confidential

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