Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) & Addiction
Most people have some habits that they can be particular about, but usually if they aren’t able to do them, they will be okay. For patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the habits become uncontrollable or they are used to cope with some persistent fear or idea.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is essentially a combination of exaggerated thoughts and fears – obsessions – that force someone to perform repetitive behaviors (compulsion) over and over again. For instance, a common manifestation of OCD is the fear of infection.
While it is normal to be concerned about germs and bacteria to the point where you wash your hands after using the bathroom, someone who has OCD is much more extreme about it. They are obsessed with the idea of protecting themselves from germs and bacteria. The idea of it may keep them awake at night or they may think about it constantly. They may also be terrified to go to places with a lot of people where they would be likely to catch an infection.
In order to cope with this high level of fear and anxiety the person with OCD will repeat actions – such as washing their hands or cleaning their living space – over and over again compulsively. After they have performed these actions many times, the fear does decrease, but when it comes back again, the only solution is to perform the actions again.
Someone with OCD may understand that their obsession does not make logical sense, but they have no control over the thoughts and fears that arise. The compulsive activities that a person with OCD performs may disrupt social activities, sleeping, work and family commitments.
Types of OCD
While cleaning and hand-washing manifestations of OCD tend to be the most common, there are also other types of OCD:
Everyone has unpleasant thoughts sometimes, but in the OCD patient, these thoughts persist to the point where the person cannot seem to get rid of them no matter what they do. They may also cause them to change their behavior. For example, if an OCD patient imagines a horrible car accident on a particular street, they may avoid driving that way.
Relationship Intrusive Thoughts
Some OCD patients will have such a strong fear about the integrity of a relationship that they will overanalyze and overthink every reaction and conversation in that relationship.
This presents itself when an overwhelming fear or obsession causes someone to constantly and repetitively check the doors and windows to make sure their house is secure.
Many times, an OCD patient will not be able to function unless everything in his or her life is organized to a level of perfection. It may be to the point where objects all must be facing a particular way. Failing to achieve this level of organization may cause feelings of stress and anxiety in the patient.
Treatment for OCD
When the cycles of compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts begin to overtake day-to-day activities, it is time to seek OCD treatment. For example, being rigorous about hand washing is fine, but if your hand-washing rituals last for hours and prevent you from participating fully in other activities and commitments, it may be time to consider treatment.
The most common treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication. To be more specific, a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is often used. This form of CBT is always done with the help of a therapist. While there aren’t any medications specifically for OCD, some antidepressants – like Luvox, Zoloft and Prozac – have been shown to work well for OCD patients.
OCD and Substance Abuse
Some OCD patients turn to drugs and/or alcohol to cope with their compulsions or obsessive thoughts. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, OCD patients are two to three times more likely to have a problem with substance abuse than the general population.
If a patient does have both substance use disorder and OCD, they will need to have both disorders treated at the same time. This is where it is essential to seek out a drug and alcohol rehab center like The Recovery Village Ridgefield that treats co-occurring disorders. There are addiction specialists and healthcare professionals on our staff that are specially trained to treat patients with duel diagnoses.
If you are suffering from a substance use disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, it’s important that you seek treatment. At The Recovery Village Ridgefield, we are dedicated to helping you discover a path to recovery. Convenient to Seattle, Portland, Tacoma and Eugene, our facility provides healing to patients with co-occurring disorders with the beautiful scenic backdrop of the Pacific Northwest. Reach out to us today.