OCD and Addiction: Confronting Both Psychological Issues
Mental illness is not a new thing in the addiction world. In fact, almost half of all the individuals who seek treatment for either alcohol or drug addiction have concurring mental health issues. Patients struggling with both OCD and addiction are seen amongst these individuals, as OCD is one of the most commonly experienced mental health issues in the United States. Treating OCD and addiction simultaneously is the best way to approach both issues if they are affecting an individual at the same time. The Wellness Retreat Recovery Center has designed a program for addicted individuals with concurring mental health disorders called the dual diagnosis program that is guaranteed or your next stay is complimentary.
What is OCD?
OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is characterized by obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsive behaviors. Anxiety can stem from a number of different causes or concerns, and behaviors also range from a number of different possibilities. The anxiety and compulsive behaviors negatively affect individuals by keeping them from performing daily tasks or even going out in public for some. It can also affect social lives as it has the potential to isolate affected individuals through feelings of shame and guilt. Most individuals affected by this mental disease are diagnosed in their early teens into their late twenties, although there are exceptions and it can be spotted before or after.
Obsessive Thoughts Individuals with OCD May Have:
- Germaphobia, the fear of touching germs
- Hypochondria, the fear of getting ill
- Numbers that are either good or bad (for example odd numbers are bad)
- A fear of loved ones passing or getting ill
- Uncontrollable disturbing sexual thoughts
- Uncontrollable thoughts about harming the self or others
- Uncontrollable thoughts about religion or obsession with religious subjects
Compulsive Behaviors Individuals with OCD May Have:
Compulsive behaviors committed by individuals struggling with OCD are performed in an attempt to keep unwanted and uncontrollable obsessive thoughts at bay. The behaviors don’t necessarily have to be connected to the obsessive thoughts the individual may have. Although individuals with OCD may understand that these behaviors will not stop unwanted thoughts and also may not be logical, they perform them nonetheless. Examples of compulsive behaviors committed by individuals with OCD may include:
- Cleaning the self or property very frequently
- Making sure appliances are turned off, doors are locked, or other safety precautions repeatedly and frequently
- Counting out loud or internally, tapping objects before use, and repeating thoughts, words, or phrases.
- Obsession with praying to release religious anxieties.
- Constantly checking up on loved ones to be assured of their safety and health.
- Saving items or money in places obsessively.
To be diagnosed, both compulsions and behaviors will take over an hour out of the day. This means that these obsessions and behaviors are very debilitating and time-consuming, making it hard to live a normal life. An example would be a person having to check their doors are locked over 50 times before leaving to work, causing them to be late. Because of the time OCD takes and shame an individual affected may feel, many individuals diagnosed with the disease will turn to isolation, driving them to self-medicate with either drugs or alcohol.
OCD and Addiction
Self-medicating for negative emotions can lead to an addiction, but addiction can also develop before OCD characteristics appear. Whichever happens first, it is important to treat both at the same time. Drug or alcohol addiction can make obsessions and compulsions grow more intense, so it is imperative for those affected by both ailments to get treatment before any harm appears as a result. The best way to go about treatment is to approach both ailments together through a specialized program called dual diagnosis. During this type of therapy, individuals are asked to confront not only the underlying issues of their addiction but their obsessions as well. Once these fears and emotions can be addressed, an individual can start the healing process and gain useful knowledge on how to manage both addictive and compulsive tendencies.
Getting Help for OCD and Addiction
Are you or someone you know struggling with both OCD and addiction? Help is available to you today! You can live a life without the negative grasp of both OCD and addiction, and treatment is successful for those who commit and are dedicated to living a sober life! Don’t delay; waiting could be a costly mistake! Have questions about The Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, our dual diagnosis program, or about OCD and addiction? Call us today to have a confidential conversation with an addiction specialist at 888-821-0238.