When you’re dealing with a problem, you may worry or think about it more than usual. You may have occasional thoughts that seem disturbing. And you might check more than once to make sure you’ve turned off the stove before leaving the house. Those reactions are normal. But when they become uncontrollable or all-consuming, that’s a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The disorder is more common than many realize, with as many as 2.3 percent of adults in the United States meeting the diagnostic criteria. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be the result of genetics, serotonin abnormalities, severe stress — or all of the above. Initial symptoms usually appear during teenage years or early adulthood, though it’s possible for them to develop at any age. People with OCD may feel ashamed or disturbed by their condition, and can make efforts to hide their behavior from others, even those they love and trust.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can involve thoughts that persist, even when they’re unwanted. People with OCD may have obsessions that include:
Compulsions are the physical manifestation of obsessions, and can be equally hard to control. Those with OCD may find it necessary to repeat actions. Several common compulsions include:
People with OCD understand rationally that their obsessions or compulsions are working against them, but they can’t stop. As you might expect, it’s exhausting and debilitating. Understandably, many people with OCD turn to substances — especially depressants such as alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs — to escape from the relentless symptoms of their disorder. However, alcohol and drugs provide only temporary respite, and their own withdrawal symptoms can actually exacerbate OCD.
Golden Peak Recovery recognizes the complexity of obsessive-compulsive disorder, especially when it’s paired with addiction. Our behavioral health and clinical teams work with you to address your obsessive-compulsive disorder in context of any other challenges you may have, including substance use disorder and other co-occurring behavioral health disorders. Our approach combines therapy, medication and wellness to treat your situation from multiple angles. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy have demonstrated success in relieving obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior. We look forward to helping you heal, too.