Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder whereby a person has unreasonable fears and anxiety due to repeated thoughts. OCD patients participate in repetitive, compulsive activities such as counting things, washing their hands, and arranging their belongings. Although performing these rituals offers temporary relief, the anxiety returns shortly after completion. OCD is an incredibly disruptive disease that can take over a person’s life and prevent him from participating in many of life’s most enjoyable events
According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, more than a quarter of people seeking care for obsessive-compulsive disorder also have a drug use disorder. People who first develop OCD symptoms in childhood or adolescence are more likely to develop a drug or alcohol addiction, often as a coping mechanism for overwhelming anxiety and fear. It is unlikely to be effective to treat an addictive condition without treating the emotional symptoms of OCD.
You will need a Dual Diagnosis recovery facility staffed by mental health and addiction experts who appreciate the complexities of OCD to recover from both conditions completely.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder’s Fact
In movies and on television, obsessive-compulsive disorder is often the topic of hilarity, fascination, or terror. We make fun of TV characters who have complicated cleaning habits or insist on having complete control over their surroundings. We watch scary movies featuring criminals obsessed with committing heinous crimes or engaging in sexual activity. In fact, people with OCD suffer from severe anxiety and internal torment due to their uncontrollable thoughts. Distracting thoughts can harm relationships, education, work, and social growth. The only way to avoid these constant, unreasonable thoughts can be to become intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and How Would it Raise the Likelihood of Drug Abuse?
Here Are Some Details About This Incapacitating Mental Illness:
- As stated by the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, OCD affects around 2.2 million males and females in the United States.
- The condition tends to have a hereditary aspect since it affects family members more frequently.
- Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder are conscious that their fears are irrational. However, they cannot curb their desire to conduct compulsive rituals to alleviate their anxieties.
- Hand washing, testing windows, and cleaning one’s living room are all ritualized habits that can take up so much time that they conflict with other everyday activities.
>>> READ THIS NEXT: Symptoms of a Substance Abuse Problem
The fears and rituals associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder differ from person to person, but there are some trends and similarities in this group. Some of the most common concerns among adults or children with OCD, according to the Nemours Foundation, are:
- The fear of contracting bacteria or viruses
- A fixation on particular numbers that are deemed “good” or “poor.”
- A preference for religious subjects
- Fear of getting sick or losing a family member due to illness or injury
- Photos of sexual acts that are intrusive
- Thoughts about hurting someone or oneself are intrusive.
Grooming, washing, counting, and organizing rituals are some of the most common activities observed in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Any of these people are afraid that if they do not follow their rituals, they or anyone close to them will be hurt. Others are concerned that if they do not carry out these rites, they will harm someone else.
If these fears are justified or not, they consume a lot of mental and physical energy.
What is The Correlation Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse?
OCD is one of a number of psychological disorders classified as anxiety disorders. As reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), about 20% of people with anxiety disorders often have a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, these substances often exacerbate symptoms and, as a result, worsen the issues associated with OCD. Anxiety disorders account for over 26% of emergency room visits in the United States, as stated by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America ADAA.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and drug or addiction of alcohol is a dangerous combination. Those who suffer from OCD have a lot of anxiety in their everyday lives. Many people resort to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their stress. This is where things get a little challenging. A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder is far more likely to develop a chemical dependency or addiction due to their alcohol or drug usage.
Addiction is a compulsive disorder that causes a person to pursue a harmful drug or activity despite the negative consequences.
The Challenges and Opportunities in Treating OCD
Managing obsessive-compulsive disorder as a co-occurring condition has many problems, but it also has a lot of benefits and can change your life. Entering a treatment center can be intimidating due to an uncontrollable climate’s unknown factors. It is difficult to concentrate on individual counseling sessions or group meetings because of intrusive thoughts and time-consuming routines. The needs and symptoms of OCD can be accommodated in a specialized Dual Diagnosis recovery program, enabling these individuals to complete their therapy program.
Medication and behavioral intervention counseling are the most common tools used to treat anxiety disorders, including OCD, according to the University of Michigan Depression Center. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a type of therapy that teaches the person how to recognize and modify harmful habits. Therapy sessions for OCD can allow the client to expose himself to the object of fear without practicing anxiety-reduction rituals. The main aim is to get rid of the unreasonable fear that comes with specific circumstances or objects.
The Importance of Education
Another critical aspect of Dual Diagnosis treatment is educating loved ones.obsessive-compulsive disorder may appear perplexing and confusing to a partner, infant, or parent. Family members often ask why anyone with OCD keeps repeating otherwise inexplicable habits. Family members may benefit from counseling sessions and educational classes to better understand the compulsive, uncontrollable essence of OCD. The more you know about this debilitating illness, the more prepared you will be to assist your loved one in making a complete recovery.
How to Build A Support Network
For clients suffering from OCD and addiction, establishing a strong support network is critical. Both of these conditions have the potential to isolate an individual from their families, partners, and peers. The signs of an anxiety disorder are exacerbated by social withdrawal. Clients in an advanced Dual Diagnosis rehab program have the ability to speak with those who are experiencing similar symptoms. Structured support groups allow members to share their stories, offer hope to one another, and explore successful coping mechanisms for dealing with obsessive thoughts.
Another essential aspect of Dual Diagnosis treatment is educating loved ones. OCD may appear perplexing and confusing to a partner, infant, or parent. Family members often ask why anyone with obsessive-compulsive disorder keeps repeating otherwise inexplicable habits. Family members may benefit from counseling sessions and educational classes to better understand the compulsive, uncontrollable essence of OCD. The more you know about this debilitating illness, the more prepared you will be to assist your loved one in making a complete recovery.
Obtaining Assistance for OCD and Addiction
Lack of disclosure is a common symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder and it adds to the difficulty of treating the condition. People with OCD are masters at concealing their disorder; as a result, loved ones are unable to recognize the issue and aid in finding treatment. Too often, by the time a person seeks clinical treatment, the disease has progressed to a much more advanced stage, and the behaviors associated with it have become much more entrenched.
When someone with OCD becomes addicted to narcotics or alcohol, they always keep their addiction hidden. As a result, by the time friends and family figure out what is going on, the plan will most likely be well underway.
Here Are a Few Red Flags that Might Indicate that Someone You Care About Is Abusing Drugs or Alcohol:
- Losing interest in interests, acquaintances, or activities
- Spending more time alone behind closed doors than normal
- When confronted with questions about their actions, they become defensive and aggressive.
- Getting an irritable, irritated demeanor
- Stealing money or prescription drugs by staying out late at night and sleeping late in the morning
- Drug paraphernalia is hidden in drawers, closets, and backpacks.
Any individual who meets the requirements for both a drug use disorder and a mental health condition is considered to have a Dual Diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis patients with dual diagnoses need advanced treatment from medical practitioners who understand how these illnesses overlap and interact. The more time the issue is left unaddressed, the more urgent it becomes.
People with OCD and opioid abuse, on the other hand, are unable to seek treatment for themselves. This emphasizes the importance of friends and family participation. Intervention is often needed to assist the person in question in receiving the assistance they need.
Looking out for a program that specializes in Dual Diagnoses, such as those provided at Foundations Recovery like Michael’s House, Black Bear Lodge, Skywood Recovery, and Talbott Recovery, is the first step in getting treatment for OCD and addiction. These residential recovery centers have addiction counselors on call who are knowledgeable about the critical problems and therapies that Dual Diagnosis patients face with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.