Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Substance Abuse

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or “OCD”) is a very serious and complex anxiety disorder in which the afflicted individual is consumed by constant and recurring thoughts that cause irrational anxiety, stress and fear.  The most common type of OCD that most people recognize is the obsession with repeated rituals.  Some of the most common forms of ritual-focused OCD are the frequent counting of items, washing of hands, continual re-arranging and organizing of items, and constant cleaning of the home or surroundings.  For individuals with OCD, these rituals function as a way to attain temporary relief.  The individual with OCD suffers from extreme anxiety, and these rituals provide a temporary break and feeling of calm and the anxiety then returns soon after they stop. OCD is a condition that is very overwhelming and can take over the afflicted individual’s life, keeping them from enjoying and engaging in basic activities. Many individuals who suffer from OCD also suffer from substance abuse disorders.  Due to the high levels of anxiety people with OCD experience on a daily basis, many of them turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of escape and as a way to cope with such anxiety.  An individual who is already engaging in obsessive compulsive and addictive behaviors is therefore much more likely to quickly and seriously become addicted to substances.  Luckily, there is treatment available.  At Passages Malibu, we specialize in duel-diagnosis disorders and can treat both substance abuse and OCD.

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