Are People With OCD More Likely to Develop Alcohol Use Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can dominate an individual’s daily life. For some individuals, reoccurring thoughts, obsessions, and ritualistic behaviors can be quite time-consuming. The symptoms related to OCD can feel overwhelming. Depending on the severity of an individual’s condition, some individuals choose to self-medicate with alcohol. Therefore, a person with OCD is more likely to develop alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Living with AUD can be difficult. Fortunately, seeking professional help through 12 South Recovery can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life. This facility offers effective mental health treatment options and alcohol addiction treatment services. A variety of programs can help individuals overcome not just addiction but also any co-occurring mental health conditions.

What Is OCD?

As stated by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), OCD is a mental health disorder that can be chronic. Some individuals may experience repetitive thoughts that they simply cannot control. One may feel an intense urge to complete daily rituals several times a day. This can severely impact an individual’s ability to find success in different areas of life. These may include their career, relationships, and goals. A few common OCD symptoms include:

  • Fear of contamination
  • Unwanted thoughts related to harm, sex, and religion
  • Needing to have things in perfect order
  • Excessive cleaning
  • Repeatedly checking on things
  • Compulsive counting
  • Social isolation
  • Impulsivity

Why Does Someone With OCD Develop Alcohol Use Disorder?

According to the Unhealthy Alcohol Use Associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms: The Moderating Effects of Anxiety and Depression by Michael Randazza, based on recent studies, AUD occurs in a large number of individuals diagnosed with OCD. Research has shown that AUD is more common for those with OCD than in the population in general.

Anxiety, depression, and distress often co-occur with OCD. This leads to self-medicating and to AUD. Both conditions are a threat to an individual’s physical and social well-being.

Symptoms That Occur When You Develop Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), AUD is considered to be a brain disorder defined by having an impaired ability to control alcohol use despite the negative consequences. People may misuse alcohol to numb their feelings or suppress symptoms related to a mental illness such as OCD. The disorder can range from typical alcohol dependency to addiction itself. For example, an individual with AUD may experience symptoms such as:

  • Drinking more or longer than intended
  • Trying to cut down on drinking but failing
  • Having the urge to drink to the point that nothing else matters
  • Continuing to drink even though it has caused relationship problems
  • Avoiding or giving up activities because of a preference for drinking alcohol
  • Having to drink more to achieve the desired effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

Professional Treatment Options for Individuals Who Develop Alcohol Use Disorder With OCD

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be a beneficial option for individuals who may be dealing with a more severe case of OCD and AUD. This type of treatment allows an individual to not only take prescription medication as prescribed but participate in psychotherapy as well for added benefit.

One of the best forms of psychotherapy used to treat OCD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of talk therapy can help individuals develop a more stable pattern of thoughts rather than struggle with problematic ways of thinking. CBT can also help individuals with AUD understand their beliefs and change their behaviors related to their addiction.

Group therapy is also an effective treatment option. In group therapy, like-minded individuals gather together, confide in one another, and learn helpful tips for a more successful recovery. Additionally, family therapy can be a helpful treatment option for individuals who have strained relationships with loved ones due to their behaviors. Therapy can help family members and friends who care the most better understand their loved one’s condition. Family therapy sessions can also help family members reflect on how their behaviors are affecting their loved one and learn how to cope with stressors as a team.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment With 12 South Recovery

Although AUD and OCD are commonly connected, professional help with 12 South Recovery is strongly advised over self-medicating uncomfortable symptoms. Various types of psychotherapy offered by their facility can teach individuals effective tools, coping skills, and unique strategies. These strategies can help a person with AUD and OCD appropriately respond to fears, compulsions, and unwanted thoughts experienced throughout the day.

12 South Recovery offers multiple levels of care to assist those facing challenges with addiction or their dual diagnosis. Caring staff members can assist people in finding mental stability and abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A dual-diagnosis program is a perfect option for individuals who are seeking professional care for a variety of challenges. In this program, an individualized treatment plan is designed to focus closely on each person’s unique needs. This integrative approach increases the potential for long-term recovery.

Practicing a self-care routine is also important. When people are motivated to practice self-care techniques in their everyday lives, they will gain the most from their individualized treatment plan. Everyone deserves to heal.

Individuals with OCD are at an increased risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD). Having a dual diagnosis can feel overwhelming for some individuals. Fortunately, 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. We provide experienced, compassionate care for those who are struggling. We understand that AUD is a cognitive disease, affecting an individual’s behavior, personality, and priorities. We focus on evidence-based therapy and treatment, medical support, and compassionate care. This focus provides each of our patients with the tools they need to address their unique issues. If you or a loved one are in need of emotional and professional support for AUD and OCD, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 today.

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