New Start | Treatment | Mental Health | Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD

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OCD has become a fixture in the imagination of popular culture as people casually throw around remarks like, "Haha, I'm so OCD!" But as real sufferers of obsessive compulsive disorder know all too well, it's a very serious illness that creates overwhelming, debilitating anxiety and can lead to involuntary self-harm.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic, long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that they feel the urge to repeat over and over.

Symptoms of OCD

If you or a loved one is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, it is important most of all to remember that only a licensed psychiatrist can make an official diagnosis. Since New Start firmly believes in getting dual diagnosis addicts the help they need, we partner with a local psychiatric group to offer clients professional psychological evaluations. Getting addiction treatment and appropriate psych meds simultaneously could be the 180 degree turn you or your loved one needs to start their recovery.

Severity of Behavior

Part of the reason OCD has become so trivialized is that everyone experiences obsession and compulsion to some degree. The key difference is that individuals with OCD experience these symptoms to a very severe degree.

To qualify as OCD, behaviors should:

  • Cause no pleasure; they only relieve preexisting anxiety
  • Present serious, continual problems in daily life
  • Continue despite being unwanted and recognized as harmful
  • Take up at least an hour of every day

Some people also experience tics like twitching, squirming, jerking, or vocal noises.

Obsessions

These are repeated urges, thoughts, or ideas that create serious anxiety.

Examples include:

  • Wanting things symmetrical/in order
  • Fear of germs
  • Strange thoughts about restricted topics like sex or religion
  • Aggression toward oneself or others

 

Compulsions

These are the physical behaviors that result from cognitive obsessions.

Examples include:

  • Repetitive counting
  • Excessive cleaning/washing
  • Needing to do things a certain amount of times
  • Rearranging objects
  • Compulsively for things like unlocked doors, running faucets, etc

 

OCD Statistics

2.3%

of American adults have OCD

Median age of onset varies by gender

Age 6 – 15 (M)

Age 20-29 (F)

Less than

10% of people

get treatment for their OCD

Subtype Cases

OCD

Unlike many other mental health disorders, OCD does not have distinct subtypes. Still, symptoms manifest differently in all individuals, and those may impact what that person’s addiction looks like.

Early onset is often contingent with gender. Men are more likely to have early onset of OCD, whereas women are more likely to develop the disorder in early adulthood. Early onset OCD tends to be more severe than late onset.

It is extremely common for people with OCD to have another chronic tic disorder. About 50% of people with OCD report having either current or past tics, and about 15% of people with OCD have Tourette syndrome as well (source).

OCD makes rife territory for hoarding behavior. This is linked to the anxiety created by the thought of throwing away items perceived to be important. It can also result from the fear of “running out” or “being out” of a particular item. When approaching a loved one who is hoarding, it’s important not to be judgmental and understand that their behavior is coming from a place of vulnerability. Hoarders also have the potential to squirrel away large stashes of drugs/alcohol. This creates an enabling environment that should be addressed in treatment.

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