Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Northbound Treatment Services offers obsessive compulsive disorder treatments when co-occurring with primary substance abuse. The world-class clinical team at Northbound doesn’t focus on labels; our treatment philosophy takes into account that with any disease of the mind, the client’s well-being is paramount. Nonetheless, most researchers and clinicians agree that OCD is best categorized as a chronic and disabling mental illness. OCD frequently co-occurs with the abuse of benzodiazepines, cocaine, amphetamines (including Ritalin), and opiates.

Because a dual-diagnosis of OCD and alcoholism or addiction is complicated and difficult to diagnose, it is also hard for people living with this mental illness to get the treatment that is key to positive recovery outcomes. Many sufferers of the disease do not want to admit they have these obsessions or compulsions; even with the disorder, many individuals are still successful professionals, often in the IT field. Our psychiatric referrals and clinical teams take all of this into account, especially since untreated OCD co-occurring with a dependency often has severe behavioral consequences.

Medication

Due to the chronic nature of the condition, medication is often part of the treatment. Switching or adding medications often helps a client who is not responding well or who has developed distressing side effects with a previous medication. Since medications for OCD can take a while before they start working, stabilization in a serenity-based program like Northbound is vital. This is also the stage of recovery where the client and family – if they have not already done so – familiarize themselves with all aspects of the illness. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety. During stabilization the staff works to educate families and encourages them to find out as much about the illness as possible.

Knowledge Is Power

Northbound Treatment Services believes knowledge is power and insight gives everyone a much better chance of developing good coping strategies for the chronic aspects of the disease. Families and clients gain insight into the person’s feeling of over-acute senses, such as being irritated by the smallest noises. They learn about the recurrent episodes of exuberant energy. Sometimes sleeping patterns change drastically: a person will shift into sleeping during the day and staying up all night. There are many types of obsessive compulsive behaviors.

Some common obsessions are:

  • Anxiety over germs or dirt.
  • Fear of harming another person.
  • Anxiety over making mistakes.
  • Fear of behaving in an antisocial way or fear of embarrassment.
  • Fear of having evil or corrupt thoughts.
  • Meticulous need for symmetry or order.
  • Constant need to alleviate doubt through reassurance.

Some common compulsions are:

  • Repetitively showering, bathing, or hand washing.
  • Avoidance of hand shaking and touching doorknobs.
  • Repetitively checking locks, stoves, or other similar objects and appliances.
  • Continual internal or external counting, while carrying out daily tasks.
  • Repeatedly rearranging objects.
  • Needing to eat foods in a precise order.
  • A distressing inability to stop thinking about certain words, images, or thoughts.
  • Repetition of particular phrases or words.
  • An incessant need to carry out tasks a particular number of times.
  • Hoarding otherwise valueless items.

The person usually recognizes (deep down) that the behavior is excessive or unreasonable. The secure housing and serene, compassionate staff at Northbound are big parts of stabilizing these common features of the disorder. Stabilization also includes sleep hygiene and nutritional guidance because weight gain or loss is a common characteristic of the disorder. Working closely with the clinical staff, daily improvement is experienced by clients at Northbound.

Northbound Treatment Services recognizes that the most effective treatment for OCD is a combination of medication and psychosocial intervention. Our healthcare professionals know that for the same reasons talk therapy won’t stop cancer from spreading, OCD demands appropriate attention. During this phase of recovery, the focus is on gaining insight into the destructive attitudes and behaviors that lead to treatment failure. The goal is to begin controlling the symptoms, reduce isolation, and increase social connections so therapeutic paths can begin to help.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), combined with a solid 12-step program, has been shown to be the most effective type of psychotherapy for this disorder. The patient is exposed many times to a situation that triggers the obsessive thoughts and gradually learns to tolerate the anxiety and resist the urge to perform the compulsion. Medication and CBT together are considered to be better than either treatment alone at reducing symptoms.