Obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, is a mental health disorder that affects people all over the world. In the United States alone, there are approximately 3 million individuals currently living with this disorder. People who are dealing with the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder often struggle in various areas of their lives as the disorder causes individuals to behave or feel differently than others.
In many cases, people who have OCD have difficulty finding the support, guidance, and medical treatment that they need in order to cope with the disorder they have. Sometimes, the absence of necessary help may be due to an overall lack of resources in the individual’s area. But, sometimes, misunderstanding is to blame for the lack of help. Many people who suffer from OCD may be unaware of what they’re really dealing with. Some of their loved ones and close friends may mistake the symptoms for attributes of a controlling nature or something of the sort.
If individuals do not get OCD treatment and counseling, they may become overwhelmed by the effects of this disorder on their lives. It can be very difficult to live with the symptoms of OCD while leading a normal life. That is, it’s difficult if you don’t have the right kind of support and guidance. So, many people self-medicate in order to escape from the difficulties and challenges that occur with OCD. This self-medication often comes in the form of substance use.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
The first step to understanding how to treat OCD is understanding exactly what this disorder is and how it affects those who deal with it. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder that is characterized by recurring unwanted thoughts, behaviors, and compulsions.
Many people who have OCD suffer from problems at work, school, home, and in other areas of their lives. This is mainly due to the fact that is can be hard for individuals to control the impulsive thoughts and behaviors that come as a result of their disorder.
Sometimes, these compulsive behaviors can be emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting. They often prevent people from staying focused or investing the times they need to put into their relationships with friends and family members.
Again, in many situations, people who are suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder may not realize exactly why they think or feel the way they do. They might not know that they have OCD. Sometimes, the people around them may not understand what their loved one is dealing with, either.
This is why it’s so important to know the signs and symptoms of this disorder. Knowing more about it can ensure that individuals get OCD treatment and counseling in order to work through the effects of their disorder.
A person may be suffering from OCD if he or she:
- Is excessively afraid of losing important items.
- Seems to be obsessed with organization or order.
- Is constantly anxious about losing loved ones.
- Has an extreme fear of becoming sick or ill.
- Obsesses about germs and is afraid of them.
- Holds onto things they don’t need (hoarding).
- Checks his or her work over and over again.
- Is always afraid that he or she may harm someone else.
- Constantly cleans the house, office, or other living space.
- Excessively engages in handwashing, bathing, showering, etc.
- Calls or checks on family members excessively to make sure they’re okay.
Sometimes, the fears and thoughts that come with OCD cause people to constantly feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder may fidget or move around excessively, trying to satisfy the unwanted thoughts and compulsions they’re experiencing.
Dual Diagnosis: When OCD Leads to Addiction
Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder is far from easy. Many people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder struggle to develop healthy and lasting relationships with others. It can be difficult to manage the emotions and cognitive behaviors that often affect those who suffer from OCD.
In some cases, people who have OCD may seem to be controlling. But, the obsessive nature they seem to have is actually a result of the disorder. Still, their actions and thoughts might be difficult for others to understand. They can cause people to become uncomfortable around those who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OCD can affect people’s performance at work. Individuals may try to do tasks alone rather than delegating them. This can cause disagreements and other issues amongst coworkers. Sometimes, this same problem can occur within relationships, with the individual who suffers from OCD seemingly trying to control or bring order to everything.
Of course, those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder do not usually intend to be controlling or have compulsive behaviors. But, it’s challenging to control these behaviors and thought processes.
Some individuals may use prescription drugs in an attempt to treat the symptoms of OCD. In many cases, medical professionals prescribe drugs to help their patients work through the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Other individuals may use illicit drugs or alcohol as a way to escape.
Regardless of the type of substance a person may depend on for relief, excessive use of these substances can lead to addiction. In many situations, people who use drugs or alcohol in order to cope with their OCD symptoms develop addiction problems, as well. When a person has two or more disorders, they have a dual diagnosis and should receive treatment that will focus on helping them with both problems.
OCD treatment and counseling for substance abuse can both work to help those who are suffering from co-occurring disorders.
Looking for OCD Treatment and Counseling for Addiction?
If you or someone you know is suffering from OCD and substance abuse, there’s no time like the present to find freedom and peace. You can get the healing and guidance you need and you don’t have to do it alone. At Northbound Treatment Services, we are here to help you through your recovery journey.
To learn more about our services, including our residential program for addiction and our treatment approach for those who are dealing with mental health disorders, please contact us today. Call (855) 858-6803 to speak with a compassionate member of our staff and begin your road to freedom.