Beach House Center for Recovery specializes in treating addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders with empathy and care. Our team of medical professionals, addiction specialists, and psychiatric providers offers intensive therapeutic interventions designed to address the core causes of substance misuse.

What is OCD?

It is perfectly normal to worry whether or not we’ve remembered something and to take the time to double-check. Even returning home from work to check if the oven has been left on or if the door is locked falls within the parameters of typical human behavior if it happens only very rarely and doesn’t disrupt normal daily functioning.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), however, can be highly destructive. OCD is a mental health disorder marked by the performance of compulsive behaviors to alleviate intense anxiety or irrational fears that devastating consequences will occur if particular actions are not completed. A person with OCD will experience an uncontrollable desire to perform repetitive tasks and even abandon work and other personal responsibilities to perform ritualistic actions.

OCD and addiction very often co-occur. An overwhelming body of research suggests that people with OCD have a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing a substance use disorder at some point in their lives.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD

There are two main characteristics of OCD noted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DCM-5): obsessions and compulsions. Continued obsessions trigger the need to engage in compulsive behaviors.

OCD compulsions can include checking, double-checking, and triple-checking to ensure lights have been turned off or doors have been locked. While such behaviors are frequently seen as harmless or eccentric, OCD can trigger actions that can cause physical discomfort or injury when performed compulsively. Constant vigorous handwashing, for example, can cause broken and raw skin. More severe OCD might involve hair pulling, skin picking, or other forms of self-harm.

People with a family history of OCD are at higher risk for developing the condition than the rest of the population. OCD is more likely to manifest after experiencing abuse, assaults, or other significant trauma. While OCD includes obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, it is possible to primarily experience either obsession or compulsion symptoms.

Obsession Signs and Symptoms

Obsessive disorders frequently involve the following:

  • Fear of germs, infection, or contamination
  • Inability to cope with a perceived lack of orderliness
  • Experiencing repeated thoughts about harming others or being harmed
  • Experiencing intrusive and unwanted thoughts about sensitive or disturbing subjects, like religion, sex, or violence
  • Fear of risk
  • Need to plan or manage every aspect of an activity
  • Avoiding circumstances that might cause obsessive thoughts

It can be difficult to identify obsessive signs and symptoms in others. However, the most easily identifiable indications of an obsessive disorder include the following behaviors:

  • Being unable to touch objects that others have touched
  • Continually second-guessing that actions were performed
  • Exhibiting intense anxiety or stress when possessions aren’t in a certain order or facing a particular direction

Compulsion Signs and Symptoms

Performing compulsive behaviors is not pleasurable for people with OCD; they perform repetitive actions to relieve feelings of stress or fear or to stop intrusive thoughts. Compulsion symptoms involve the following behaviors:

  • Repeatedly performing tasks like washing hands, turning light switches on and off, or checking to see if doors are locked
  • Repeatedly muttering a word or phrase
  • Neglecting urgent tasks in favor of performing compulsive actions

Substance Use Disorders and OCD

OCD symptoms can sometimes appear as a result of long-term or severe substance use disorders. The condition, known as drug-induced psychosis, is caused by substance use-related brain chemistry changes.

However, substance use disorders can also amplify existing OCD symptoms. The relationship between mental health disorders like OCD and addiction requires a dedicated treatment approach that addresses both issues concurrently. At Beach House Center for Recovery, we offer personalized treatment programs that address the underlying causes of substance use disorders, helping patients manage the emotional triggers that contribute to self-medicating behaviors.

OCD and Addiction Treatment at Beach House Center for Recovery

People struggling with OCD are at a heightened risk of experiencing a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. At Beach House, we proudly offer evidence-backed therapies designed to treat the whole person with compassion and empathy. Our specialized programs provide a full spectrum of treatment plans that address the short-term effects of substance use disorder and provide tools for long-term management.

To learn more about our treatment programs for OCD and addiction, please contact our helpful admissions counselors today.