OCD is a form of anxiety disease characterized by disturbing, intrusive thoughts. A person may, for instance, frequently experience intrusive thoughts about an intruder breaking into their home. The "obsessive" aspect of the illness.

In reaction, many individuals with OCD engage in actions that reduce the distress caused by these intrusive thoughts. For instance, they may frequently verify that the doors are locked. This is the "compulsive" component of the disorder.

These recurrent habits may resemble addictions to an observer. Moreover, while compulsion and addiction can coexist, they are distinct.

In this essay, we will investigate the relationship between OCD and addiction, how they impact one another, and how health professionals handle both conditions.


The Connection Between OCD And Addiction

Substance abuse is frequent in the general population, but it is more prevalent among persons with severe mental health issues, such as OCD.

Estimates of the proportion of OCD patients who are also addicted vary. Researchers tracked 38,157 veterans with OCD in a 2019 study. More than one-third (36.7%) of the population had a drug use disorder. The most prevalent chemicals included:

  • Tobacco: 26.5%
  • Alcohol: 17.1%
  • Cannabis: 5.5%
  • Prescription Opioids: 3.6%
  • Cocaine: 3.37%
  • Amphetamines: 1.5%

In 2022 research on behavioral addictions, significant percentages of OCD and addictions were also discovered. 

70% of individuals with OCD reported indications of behavioral addiction. 58% of individuals did not suffer from OCD. Internet addiction was notably prevalent, affecting 29.3% of those with OCD compared to only 3.1% of those without the disorder.

Other studies, however, indicate that the relationship between OCD and addiction is not clear. A 2021 study indicated that persons with moderate OCD symptoms were less likely to have an addiction than those with mild or severe symptoms. This produces a U-shaped curve on a graph.


Why Does OCD Have A Connection To Addiction?

Several hypotheses explain why mental health issues are associated with a greater prevalence of addiction. It may be attributed to several reasons, including:

• Self-Medication: Individuals may use substances or actions to manage their problems, since these may provide short respite or escape. Doctors refer to this as "self-medication." As OCD is underreported, it is possible that some individuals self-medicate because they are not receiving the necessary help.

• Overlapping Risk Factors: Similar risk factors are associated with mental health disorders and addiction. These include early stress and trauma, changes in brain structure or chemistry, and genetic alterations that may make certain individuals more susceptible to both.

• Substance Side Effects: Some addictive substances can induce or exacerbate mental health problems during or after usage.


Treating OCD And Dependency

Both OCD and addiction are curable disorders. A person may have some degree of OCD throughout their lifetime, but with the correct help, their symptoms can improve considerably.

• Conversation Therapy: both OCD and addiction can react positively to talk therapy. A therapist works with a patient to help them comprehend their behavior's motivations, address their automatic thinking, and establish new coping mechanisms. In addition, they may address suspected underlying causes or factors, such as trauma.

• Symptom Management: Some individuals with OCD find that medicine alleviates their symptoms. However, the effects might differ from one to individual.

• Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT): A person with a drug use disorder may be eligible for MAT, a treatment for addiction that assists the body in adjusting. For instance, a physician may prescribe methadone to an individual with an opioid use disorder. This decreases both drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

• Assistance Groups Or Programs: Support groups for addiction or OCD can provide support, practical techniques, and comfort from those who have experienced similar situations. There are also organized programs that aid persons in their rehabilitation from addiction.


When To Seek Aid?

At any point, individuals with OCD, addiction, or both might seek therapy. In general, early treatment is preferable, since it minimizes the likelihood of severe symptoms or consequences.

A physician or mental health expert such as irishealing.com can evaluate a patient's needs and provide a treatment strategy.

People should also seek support if they:

  • have upsetting thoughts they cannot control;
  • have difficulty stopping certain behaviors despite a desire to do so; 
  • experience physical withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using a substance; 
  • are undergoing treatment but have new or worsened symptoms; or
  • were in remission but are exhibiting symptoms again

Seeking assistance for addiction may be difficult or even terrifying, but several organizations may give support.

Author's Bio: 

Kim Smith enjoys exploring the entertainment world with her thoughts and opinions on selfgrowth