While many people might be called perfectionists, a smaller number of individuals suffer from a diagnosable disease that goes far beyond perfectionism. For people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), intruding thoughts and feelings, fears, or mental images cause them anxiety, which prompts them to perform repetitive rituals. These fears, feelings, or thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals or routines are called compulsions. According to the Mayo Clinic, however, while OCD symptoms usually include both obsessions and compulsions, “it’s also possible to have only obsession symptoms or only compulsion symptoms.” In fact, about one-third of people with OCD also have a disorder that includes “sudden, brief, intermittent movements or sounds (tics).”

Unfortunately, OCD and drug addiction can occur together, and often do. At Cornerstone, our Co-occurring Services Program focuses on treating both disorders to help you fully recover.

Life Interrupted – Symptoms of OCD

Ever left the kitchen and wondered if you really did turn that burner on the stove off? While everyone occasionally double-checks things, people diagnosed with OCD have intrusive thoughts that they need to check things repeatedly, or feel the need to perform routines over and over. To quell the anxiety that these thoughts cause, people will turn to rituals. They don’t derive pleasure from these behaviors, and often, they end up causing shame and interfering with their daily lives.

Symptoms of OCD include obsessions like:

  • Fear of dirt, germs, or intruders
  • Needing things very orderly; being overly tidy
  • Having intrusive thoughts or images about being violent, physically or sexually

Compulsions include:

  • Washing hands
  • Counting
  • Locking doors
  • Hoarding items

Particular to an OCD diagnosis is that you:

  • Perform the same rituals repeatedly
  • Have difficulty controlling these obsessions and compulsions
  • Don’t derive pleasure from them, only relief
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals

While some people believed that OCD was a form of anxiety, it has long been recognized as its own distinct mental health disorder. Often, OCD and drug addiction co-occur. People with OCD may self-soothe their distress with alcohol or other drugs, or they may use as a way to cope with stressful triggers in social situations.

OCD can also co-occur, or be influenced by, an existing eating disorder, anxiety disorder, or depression—all of which are known to occur frequently in people who also have substance abuse issues. Stress and trauma are behind many addiction disorders, and they can also be risk factors for OCD. “If you’ve experienced traumatic or stressful events or you tend to react strongly to stress, your risk may increase. This reaction may, for some reason, trigger the intrusive thoughts, rituals, and emotional distress characteristic of OCD,” Mayo Clinic warns.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for OCD and Addiction

We offer dual diagnosis treatment, which develops targeted therapies for an individual’s needs—whether you’re dealing with OCD or another mental health disorder and addiction. If you or your loved one is using drugs or alcohol to cope with OCD, Cornerstone Recovery Center can help. Contact us online or call us today at 1-888-711-0354.