Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that involves obsessions and rituals. People with OCD often engage in repeated, compulsive actions us as counting items, hand washing, knocking, cleaning, and organizing. Compulsive thoughts may include rumination over a particular subject. A study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders emphasized that substance use disorders affect more than 25% of people who have been diagnosed with OCD. If you have been diagnosed with both OCD and an addiction, you have what is called a dual diagnosis. It is important that you seek out a reputable treatment center who specializes in dual diagnosis; not doing this could result in being treated for only one disorder and not the other, thus potentially worsening your symptoms.

Most people who have OCD experience addiction as a result of attempting to self-medicate in order to cope with the fear and anxiety they experience on a daily basis. This can quickly become dangerous as the person becomes dependent on alcohol or other substances to help them feel calm and relaxed; here are the most common signs of addiction:

  • Needing more of the substance in order to get that initial “high”
  • Continuing to use substance despite the problems its causing in other areas of life
  • Planning activities around substance use
  • Experiencing withdrawals when not using, such as nausea, headaches, confusion, irritability, etc.
  • Consuming more of a substance than you normally would intend to
  • Taking part in risky behaviors such as stealing in order to get the drug
  • Attempting to quit substance use but failing each time

Some substances can cause people to feel anxious, depressed, or restless. This, in turn, can complicate the symptoms experienced by OCD, making it even more difficult for a person to function normally. Using substances in addiction to making medication for OCD can be even more dangerous, as mixing substances yields an unknown outcome; in some cases, the medication may lose its effect. In others, a fatal reaction could occur.

If you’ve been struggling with both OCD and addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Treatment is available, and often includes medication and psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy”. With this, you will develop tools to help you manage the symptoms of your OCD while you detox from substances. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to living a happier, healthier life.

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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