Having both bipolar disorder (BPD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at the same time is classified as a co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis. Clinical research has shown the BPD and OCD occur as a dual diagnosis more often than most would think; it is estimated that 10% to 35% of people with BPD also

have OCD, with many individuals reporting that their symptoms of OCD started first. Another study has concluded that people with BPD are between two to five times more likely to develop OCD compared to major depressive disorder. If you’ve been diagnosed with both of these disorders, there are likely a number of symptoms you experience.

To begin, BPD is a mental illness that typically involves primarily manic or depressive episodes, sometimes both. Manic episodes involve feelings of inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, reduced need for sleep, racing thoughts, more talkativeness, becoming easily distracted, more goal-oriented in activities, and excessive involvement in activities that are elevated risk for consequences, such as unprotected sex, gambling, or impulsive investments. Depressive episodes involve feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, fatigue, extreme sadness, lack of motivation, and more.

OCD involves obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsive actions; those actions may involve doing something a repeated number of times, such as knocking exactly 4 times or saying something exactly 4 times. Cleaning, checking, hoarding, reassurance-seeking and other behavioral rituals may be involved. Obsessive thoughts may include fears surrounding one’s sexuality, religion, cleanliness, relationship, and more. Both BPD and OCD can be very distressing for people, especially when treatment has not been sought. How do these disorders interact with one another?

A 2016 study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry found that symptoms of OCD have been more prevalent in BPD clients during their depressive episodes, suggesting that symptoms of OCD appear based on mood; this same study also indicated that OCD remits in those with BPD, making it a cyclic disorder. BPD involves mood variability, and OCD seems to rely on that. Does this mean it can be cured? Potentially, but treatment is the first step to better managing one’s symptoms.

If you struggle with both of these disorders, proper treatment can help you develop tools towards managing them. For example, a reputable treatment center may provide you with medication to give you clarity while you work through some of your concerns in psychotherapy and group therapy. Take that first step towards seeking help today.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.

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