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Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Addiction Treatment

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Paying attention to detail and being organized are often considered admirable traits because they can help improve the quality of your work and minimize the risk of making mistakes.

If you display those traits, some people may joke that you have OCD, but obsessive compulsive disorder is no joking matter. As its name suggests, this anxiety includes both obsessions and compulsions, though it’s possible to have just obsession or compulsion symptoms. Most individuals with OCD experience more than one kind of obsession or compulsion.

According to the Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH) “Obsessions are intrusive thoughts that repeatedly surface. Often people with OCD will try to reduce the obsessions by acting out certain rituals.”

What are obsessions and compulsions?

OCD obsessions usually involve upsetting themes that are more-than-excessive concerns about real-life problems. Rather, they’re irrational worries that the person often realizes are not likely to happen and might even be nonsensical.

Compulsions, meanwhile, are intentional behaviours to try to reduce the anxiety brought on by the obsessions.

Excessive fear of getting contaminated by germs is an example of an upsetting theme someone with OCD might experience, and it may lead to someone compulsively washing their hands until they’re sore and chapped. However, the compulsions may offer only short-term relief from anxiety. 

Obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms:

OCD often manifests as repetitive behaviours an individual feels compelled to carry out. Examples of obsessive behaviour among people with OCD include:

  • Checking and rechecking to make sure a door is locked or something like the oven is turned off.
  • Obsessive cleaning.
  • Following strict rules of order, such as putting on clothes in the same order each day or organizing canned food by theme or size and becoming unsettled if the order is disrupted.
  • Repeated handwashing, often until the skin becomes raw.
  • Silently repeating a prayer, word or phrase.
  • Counting objects, letters, words or actions.

Severity of OCD varies

Though OCD is most likely to appear in the teen or young adult years, it can begin in childhood and is considered a lifelong disorder. Symptoms often develop gradually and tend to vary in severity over the years, from mild and moderate to severe. The types of OCD obsessions and compulsions someone experiences can also evolve over time.  

Causes of OCD

The cause of OCD isn’t fully understood, but research suggests it may be due to genetics and changes in the body’s own natural chemistry or brain functions. Obsessive fears and compulsive behaviours can also be learned, perhaps from watching others with OCD. 

OCD risk factors

You may be wondering if you or a loved one is at risk of developing OCD. Having parents or other family members with the disorder could increase someone’s risk of developing OCD. Your risk may also increase if you’ve experienced traumatic or stressful events that may trigger intrusive thoughts, rituals and emotional distress. OCD may also be related to mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse or tic disorders. 

Complications of OCD

The obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals can become so excessive, disruptive and time consuming that they interfere with activities like work and school and strain relationships. People with OCD may experience health issues, like contact dermatitis from frequent handwashing. 

Types of OCD

The media often portrays individuals with OCD as obsessively clean and afraid of germs. While that’s certainly true for some, there are numerous types of OCD. Examples include Harm OCD, which involves intrusive thoughts of inflicting violence onto oneself or someone else, and Sexual Orientation OCD, which involves obsessively questioning your sexual orientation and how others perceive it.

Individuals with obsessive love disorder may feel an overwhelming desire to possess and protect another person, which can lead to dysfunctional relationships and controlling behaviour.

Prevention and obsessive compulsive disorder treatment

While there’s no foolproof way to prevent OCD, treatments may help prevent it from worsening and disrupting activities and daily routines. It’s uncommon for someone to recover from OCD without some form of treatment, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, which can help individuals modify thoughts and beliefs that may reinforce obsessive and compulsive symptoms.

Recovery is a realistic and achievable goal for many people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. Aurora Recovery Centre offers treatment options that can help bring your symptoms under control, so they no longer rule your daily life.

Recovery takes effort and practice, but our knowledgeable and compassionate team of professionals will be there to support and guide you every step of the way, so you enjoy the quality of life you deserve. 


Everything shared with us is kept strictly confidential and we’re happy to make recommendations if you need a different level of care than we provide. Feel free to reach out, we’re here for you.

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