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Freedom From Addiction is one of Canada's most innovative addiction recovery homes. 

We are passionate about creating and providing holistic treatment approaches geared to guide clients towards a life of healing and sobriety. We take pride in our team of qualified healthcare professionals and addiction specialists equipped with the impressive knowledge and expertise to develop personalized co-occurring treatment plans for clients who struggle with OCD and addiction.

How OCD Affects Addiction

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a mental health illness categorized as a type of anxiety disorder. A person with OCD is plagued with recurring thoughts, ideas, or sensations that are frequently repulsive or unwanted in nature. These are called obsessions. Common examples of OCD obsessions include:

  • Fear of getting contaminated 
  • Disturbing sexual thoughts or images
  • Fear of blurting out obscenities or insults
  • An overpowering concern with order, symmetry, or precision
  • Fear of losing, discarding, or forgetting something important

These obsessions trigger people with OCD to do something uncontrollably and repetitively called compulsions. Typical examples of OCD-related compulsions are:

  • Excessive or ritualized hand washing, showering, or brushing teeth
  • Uncontrollable urge to arrange or organize things in a specific way
  • Repeatedly checking locks, switches, or appliances
  • Constantly seeking approval or reassurance
  • Repeated counting to a certain number

Unfortunately, people with OCD find themselves feeling trapped in a vicious cycle of being caught in the grips of their obsessions and compulsions, ultimately hindering them from living a normal life. They are often too consumed by their obsessions and compulsions physically, mentally, and emotionally that they forget about going to work or school or going out to see their friends or family.

Living with OCD can be exhausting and debilitating that they turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, self-medicate, and drown the voices or images in their heads. These may offer a quick fix, but they also increase your risk of developing a co-occurring of OCD and addiction, which compounds the problem and requires a more complicated treatment solution.

OCD in the U.S. and Canada

In the U.S., OCD affects 2.2 million adults or at least 1% of the entire population. It can start at a very young age, in fact, one-third of affected adults said they experienced their first symptoms during childhood. Approximately 25% of OCD cases occur by age 14, but the average onset is 19 years old.

On the other hand, here's what research reveals about the prevalence of OCD in Canada

  • 1 in every 100 people aged 15 and older are diagnosed with OCD.
  • People with OCD were younger and more likely to have lower incomes. 
  • They were more likely to have co-occurring mood disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • The diagnosis of OCD was also associated with alcohol dependence and substance abuse and dependence.
  • Childhood trauma was common in OCD diagnosis. A whopping 72.33% of people with OCD had reportedly experienced some form of maltreatment when they were children.

The Importance of Treating OCD During Addiction Recovery

According to a study in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, approximately 25% of individuals seeking OCD treatment also have a concurrent substance use disorder. The researchers found that 12% of the study sample identified as alcohol dependent or alcoholic, 11% were both heavily dependent on illicit drugs and alcohol, and the remaining 3% were addicted to drugs alone.

Doing OCD or addiction treatment alone and vice-versa can be futile. For instance, using only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for OCD symptoms can increase the patient's risk for prescription drug addiction. On the other hand, focusing on addiction treatment alone without considering the patient's co-occurring OCD condition would only lead to dropping out of rehab, skipping scheduled therapy sessions, and relapse. 

Without a solid treatment approach, individuals suffering from OCD and addiction are trapped in a pernicious cycle of unhealthy coping strategies (seeking more social isolation and getting high on drugs and alcohol), exacerbating their symptoms and increasing their risk of dangerous, self-destructive behaviours (self-harm, suicide, or drug overdose). This is why a holistic dual-diagnosis treatment that effectively addresses both OCD and addiction at the same time is vital for a true and long-lasting recovery.

How OCD Is Treated

The American Psychiatric Association's Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder recommends cognitive behavioural therapy, particularly a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which has the most substantial evidence supporting its use in OCD treatment. ERP and SSRIs are considered to be the "first line" of treatment for OCD.

At Freedom From Addiction, we are firm believers in getting to the root cause of addiction versus doing a drug detox alone when dealing with co-occurring patients with OCD and addiction. We offer evidence-based, holistic approaches and create an individualized treatment plan based on each client's unique circumstances. 

Our co-occurring treatment includes:

Medical Detox

Freedom From Addiction offers safe, effective, and medically guided drug detox programs that help the body flush out trace amounts of alcohol and drugs while providing necessary support for the patient to manage the withdrawal symptoms as comfortably as possible.

Drug Addiction Treatment

We offer different types of drug addiction treatment programs tailored to fit the client's personal needs. We have residential treatment, in-house or hospitalization, outpatient programs, and behavioural counselling. We also have an impressive team of medical professionals and addiction specialists who are qualified to treat all types of addiction to illicit drugs, including:

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

For clients with a dual diagnosis of OCD and addiction, our alcohol rehab and alcohol addiction treatment services are designed to provide support at every step of the way. These include:

  • Helping families and friends stage interventions
  • Providing detoxification and psychosocial support designed to address drinking problems
  • Conducting individual and group counselling for maintaining abstinence and relapse prevention
  • Giving family therapy and emotional support for loved ones who may have been hurt or want to be involved in the healing process.

Mental Health Treatment

The core of our dual-diagnosis treatment at Freedom From Addiction is our mental health treatment program. It effectively helps pinpoint potential risk factors, past trauma, and potential triggers that may have resulted in the clients' OCD and addiction. But more importantly, they are also designed to teach them how to unlearn negative thinking patterns, emotions, and unhealthy coping mechanisms by replacing them with positive behaviours.

Our mental health treatment involves integrative therapies, such as: 

Our Integrated OCD and Addiction Treatment Approach

Fortunately, addiction treatment facilities are now recognizing the pervasiveness of co-occurring mental health disorders like OCD and addiction. Nevertheless, it would still take quite some time before we see research-based dual-diagnosis treatments offered as a part of the standard of care in all drug rehabs in the country. 

The current reality is that individuals with OCD and addiction have no choice but to seek separate treatments for each condition, therefore wasting time, effort, and energy and risking worsening of symptoms, relapse, and overdose. But that doesn't have to be the case with you. 

Freedom From Addiction is an addiction recovery home based in Aurora, Ontario. Our dual-diagnosis treatment programs are backed by years of extensive review of scientific literature regarding addiction and co-occurring disorders. We have a team of experts that implement evidence-based dual-diagnosis treatment plans and a continuing care program to provide clients with all the support they need. 

Having OCD and addiction can make you feel hopeless and helpless, but it doesn't have to be that way. We are here to help you. Contact Freedom From Addiction today.

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