OCD and Addiction Treatment in Colorado

There are numerous different types of mental health disorders. One of the most well-known mental health disorders is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Like those with other mental health disorders, individuals who suffer from OCD have a strong chance of also developing a substance addiction. Individuals who simultaneously suffer from both OCD and addiction need to receive dual diagnosis treatment.

What Is OCD?

OCD is an acronym for the mental health and anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Individuals who suffer from OCD experience recurrent obsessions and compulsions. While OCD is a lifelong condition, with the help of behavioral therapy and medication, individuals who suffer from OCD can learn how to manage their conditions.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of OCD?

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Most of the signs and symptoms of OCD can be separated into two categories, obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that are intrusive and thus, unwanted by the person experiencing them.

Obsessions caused by OCD often make people anxious. To help themselves manage this newfound anxiety, people with OCD will display certain compulsive behaviors.

Compulsions are repeated behaviors that people feel a deep, unnatural urge to do, often as a result of obsessive thoughts. For example, someone with OCD may develop the compulsive behavior to repeatedly wash his or her hands after fearfully obsessing over germs.

While the obsessions and compulsions that OCD causes are often thought or done repeatedly, not all repeated thoughts and behaviors are due to OCD. To distinguish whether or not a person’s obsessions or compulsions are just regular old thoughts and compulsions or those of a person with OCD, consider these characteristic traits of people with OCD:

  • They can’t control their obsessions or compulsions, even when they know that they’re irrational or over-the-top
  • They spend more than one hour a day on their obsessions and compulsions
  • They don’t get relief from their compulsions, although exhibiting compulsive behaviors due to OCD does ease a person’s anxiety
  • Their daily lives are negatively affected due to their obsessions and compulsions

Some of the most common obsessions that people with OCD develop include the following:

  • Fear of germs and contamination
  • Fear of losing or misplacing something
  • Fear of losing control over one’s behavior
  • Obsessing over aggressive thoughts towards others or oneself
  • Unwanted, forbidden, or taboo thoughts on sex, religion, or harm
  • Wanting things to always be symmetrical or in perfect order

Some of the most common compulsions that people with OCD exhibit include the following:

  • Excessively cleaning or hand washing
  • Organizing everything in a precise way
  • Repeatedly checking things such as if the door is locked or not or if the stove is turned off or not
  • Counting things
  • Repeatedly praying or saying certain words silently to oneself

What Causes OCD?

There is no clear answer for what causes a person to develop OCD. Common factors of OCD though include:

  • Genetics or family history of OCD
  • Brain abnormalities
  • An anxiety-inducing environment growing up
  • High activity levels and low serotonin levels in the brain
  • Traumatic life events such as bullying, abuse, or neglect
  • People who are anxious and meticulous with high personal standards

How To Diagnose OCD

For a person’s obsessions and compulsions to be considered OCD, one must typically exhibit his or her obsessions and compulsions for at least one hour each day. A person’s obsessions and compulsions must also cause him or her severe distress and interfere with his or her daily life to receive an OCD diagnosis. To receive an official OCD diagnosis, one must take a physical and psychiatric evaluation.

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The community vibe we foster at Spero Recovery enables our clients to feel comfortable and teaches them interpersonal skills. We want to create a safe environment for our clients; our goal is to provide a space where they can become the people they have always wanted to be.

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At Spero Recovery, we immerse our guests into a 12 Step community. They find sponsors, meet up with them regularly, and work through the 12 Steps. Members of the community pass down the gift of recovery to our clients, which allows them to begin the process of recovery and eventually pass on the gift to other clients.

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We also offer experiential programming – hikes and other outdoor activities. We also have a full woodworking shop. Inviting specialists onto the premises—such as meditation teachers and chefs—is one of our favorite things to do. Our goal is to teach our guests essential life skills and the importance of building relationships.

OCD and Addiction

Individuals who suffer from mental health disorders, such as OCD, have a stronger chance of also developing substance addictions than people who don’t suffer from mental illness. This is because many people with mental health disorders, such as OCD, use substances to help them cope. Seeking addiction treatment early can provide the support and tools needed to address both the substance use and the underlying mental health concerns.

Sometimes, abusing substances can even trigger the development of OCD. This is because some people are genetically conditioned to develop OCD.

According to a study published by the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, individuals who suffered from OCD for the first time in childhood or adolescence are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs later on in life. Overall, most of the participants in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders study reported that they didn’t abuse substances until after their OCD symptoms began.

Of the 323 adults with OCD in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders study, 27% also suffered from a substance use disorder. 12% of the sample study specifically suffered from alcohol dependency or addiction. 11% were dependent on both drugs and alcohol and 3% were solely dependent on drugs.

In a separate 2019 study on veterans with OCD, more than 36.7% of the study’s participants suffered from a substance use disorder. Of that approximately 36.7%, around 26.5% suffered from tobacco addiction, 17.1% suffered from alcohol addiction, 5.5% suffered from cannabis addiction, 3.6% suffered from opioid addiction, 3.37% suffered from cocaine addiction, and 1.5% suffered from amphetamine addiction.

A common substance that people with mental health disorders use to help them cope is alcohol. Unfortunately for those who suffer from OCD, drinking large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time can increase a person’s anxiety. Because OCD is technically an anxiety disorder, drinking large quantities of alcohol can, in turn, worsen a person’s OCD. Recognizing this pattern and seeking alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado can be instrumental in managing both the addiction and the underlying mental health condition.

Another substance that people who suffer from anxiety disorders such as OCD often take to help them cope is marijuana. In fact, many people with anxiety disorders often develop marijuana addictions. Thus, people with OCD should be careful about their marijuana intake.

Anxiety is a well-known side effect of stimulants. Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that using and abusing stimulants can worsen a person’s OCD symptoms.

Data and Statistics on OCD and Addiction

  • Between 6 and 2.3 percent of American adults suffer from OCD.
  • Approximately 25% to 40% of the 6 to 2.3% of American adults with OCD also abuse substances.
  • Between 6% and 12% of people in treatment for substance abuse and addiction also suffer from OCD.
  • Less than half of the people who suffer from both OCD and a substance use disorder get treatment for OCD.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for OCD and Addiction

When a person receives dual diagnosis treatment, he or she simultaneously receives treatment for two different disorders that he or she suffers from. It’s imperative that individuals who suffer from both OCD and a substance use disorder receive dual diagnosis treatment for OCD and addiction. This is because co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders affect one another. For example, if a person treats his substance use disorder but not his co-occurring mental health disorder, the symptoms of the lingering mental health disorder will trigger the person to want to abuse substances again to cope.

Similarly, treating a person’s OCD without simultaneously treating their co-occurring substance use disorder will likely cause the person with the lingering substance use disorder to abuse substances that trigger the person’s anxiety and OCD. Thus, to effectively treat co-occurring OCD and addiction, one must treat both conditions at the same time.

Individuals who suffer from severe OCD and/or severe substance addiction should look into receiving residential treatment that includes dual diagnosis. Inpatient dual diagnosis treatment requires its patients to live in the rehab facilities where they’re receiving care. That way, inpatient dual diagnosis treatment patients can receive 24/7 care and support.

Individuals with moderate to severe OCD and addiction who want to spend their evenings and nights in the comfort of their own homes should look into dual diagnosis partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment. This is because PHP treatment allows its patients to spend all of their days in rehab and their evenings and nights in their own homes.

Intensive outpatient program (IOP) treatment that’s dual diagnosis allows its patients to receive care for two different disorders for a few hours a day, several days a week. When not in treatment, IOP patients get to go back home and live normal lives. Individuals who want to receive IOP dual diagnosis treatment for OCD and addiction should suffer from moderate-level OCD and addiction.

Outpatient program (OP) dual diagnosis treatment requires its patients to receive care for around a couple hours a day, a couple of days a week. To fit in treatment for both OCD and addiction within this short amount of time, OP dual diagnosis treatment patients should make sure that the severity of both their substance use and mental health disorders are mild.

At our Colorado rehab for men, we specialize in 12 step programming to help our residents overcome substance use. We provide a full immersion into 12 step rehab, focusing on the principles of AA’s 12 steps and helping residents work through each step. The sense of community, routine, and accountability that is naturally built into this program can help residents manage OCD symptoms. However, it’s important to note that our program focuses on addiction recovery.

Receive OCD and Addiction Treatment at Spero Recovery

ocd and addiction treatment ColoradSpero Recovery is a rehab facility that focuses on improving the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities that are most affected by alcohol and drug addiction. To achieve its mission, Spero Recovery Center provides an affordable and accessible 30-day recovery program. In addition to its 30-day recovery program, Spero Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders such as OCD and addiction.

To learn more about Spero Recovery and its services, contact us today. We are more than willing to answer any questions that you may have.

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Finding the right program for recovering from addiction can be challenging. For more information on what Spero Recovery does and how we can help, give us a call. Your are not alone. We can accomplish so much together!