Mental health disorders have the potential to interfere with a person’s ability to function and live a fulfilled life. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition with intrusive and sometimes debilitating symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “People with OCD have time-consuming symptoms that can cause significant distress or interfere with daily life.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to treat OCD and address any underlying or co-occurring conditions. The effects of OCD may be cumulative. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to reduce severe or complex symptoms of OCD.

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

OCD is an anxiety disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Lifetime prevalence estimates for OCD in the United States range from 1.6 percent to 2.3 percent.” Anyone can be diagnosed with OCD at any point in their lives. However, men are more likely to develop OCD behaviors during childhood, while women have a higher overall risk of being diagnosed with the disorder.

The side effects of OCD may impact the following aspects of a person’s life:

  • Career goals
  • Education
  • Family dynamics
  • Social and peer engagement
  • Romantic relationships
  • Physical health
  • Mental well-being
  • Executive function

Individuals with OCD experience excessive, intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Often, people with OCD have a history of trauma and struggle with moderate to severe anxiety or other mental health issues. The symptoms of OCD may complicate treatment for some co-occurring disorders, including substance use disorder (SUD) or eating disorders (EDs). Treatment for dual diagnosis requires clinicians to address all active conditions simultaneously.

Risk Factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Some people may have a higher risk of developing OCD. A few known risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Chronic and acute stress
  • Trauma
  • Childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Significant life events, including the death of a loved one
  • Family history of OCD or other mental health disorders
  • Co-occurring substance misuse or mental health disorders

Many trauma-related mental health disorders share overlapping risk factors with OCD. In many cases, clients report experiencing OCD before SUD and other conditions. According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, in one study, “70% of participants with comorbid SUDs reported that OCD preceded SUD onset by at least one year.” Early treatment of OCD reduces the risk of SUD.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

OCD often co-occurs with other mental health issues. Co-occurring disorders have the potential to complicate treatment and interfere with a person’s ability to effectively manage OCD.

Some of the most common co-occurring disorders diagnosed alongside OCD include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • SUD
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and other anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • EDs

According to Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, “[A] number of other psychiatric and neurologic disorders have similar phenomenological features, can be comorbid with OCD, or are sometimes even conceptualized as uncommon presentations of OCD,” including “the obsessive preoccupations and repetitive behaviors found in body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondriasis, Tourette syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, catatonia, autism, and in some individuals with eating disorders (eg, anorexia nervosa).” The clinical team at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to accurately diagnose and treat any co-occurring disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD causes individuals to experience intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and other disruptive symptoms. The exact nature of the thoughts and compulsions vary significantly. Most people with OCD experience intense feelings of fear, guilt, or dread if they try to avoid intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. For example, someone who feels compelled to check their door lock three times in a row may feel certain something terrible will happen to them if they only check the lock twice. The fear, anxiety, or dread people experience creates an escalating cycle that increases the severity of symptoms.

Some common signs and symptoms of OCD include:

  • Ritualistic behaviors
  • Repetitive thoughts, verbalizations, or behaviors
  • Avoiding specific items, thoughts, behaviors, or people
  • Extreme feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Impulsive or risk-taking behaviors

The symptoms of OCD exist along a spectrum from mild to severe.

Effect of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder on Family Dynamics

The entire family is affected when individuals struggle with severe, complex, or persistent OCD symptoms. Sometimes, unhealthy family dynamics play a role in the development of OCD. Family therapy and education are essential parts of recovery. Even clients with healthy family dynamics benefit from participating in family therapy during treatment. The side effects of OCD affect the entire family, making it vital for all family members to receive support. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers family therapy and other support services.

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Treating OCD and co-occurring mental health issues requires a holistic approach to address all the underlying problems and symptoms simultaneously. Clients and their loved ones benefit from the guidance and support of expert mental health and addiction recovery specialists.

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers the following treatments and services:

  • Psychoeducation
  • Psychotherapy
  • Nutritional coaching
  • Peer support
  • Family therapy
  • Case management
  • Aftercare planning
  • Alternative holistic therapies

The clinicians at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab are certified to provide primary treatment for mental health, substance abuse, and EDs. Clients with co-occurring or primary OCD benefit from the experience and knowledge of the dedicated care team. The programs provide clients with a safe and comfortable space to heal and process the root cause of their disorder.