Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are OCD and drug addiction related?"
My father was addicted to prescription painkillers for several years. He is clean now, but he has started behaving in ways that look to me like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Is OCD related to drug addiction? If so, does this mean that he might have relapsed into his drug abuse?
First, I'm happy to hear that your father has been able to get himself clean from prescription painkillers. Physicians that are capable of treating drug addiction and dependency include primary care physicians and psychiatrists. As you likely know, obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition where patients try to relieve an obsession that intrudes their thought process by carrying out a compulsion that relieves that obsession. There is some small overlap of patents that have obsessive compulsive disorder and that which have addiction problems, probably more than there would be by just chance. This is because the compulsion part of the equation is sometimes the use of a substance, even when the person doesn't want to. This means that if he has OCD, then his chances of relapsing may be somewhat higher. But most of his chance of relapse comes just from the fact that relapse rates are high in everyone. I suggest that you make sure that your dad schedules regular appointments with his primary care physician who can maintain a therapeutic alliance with your dad and help keep him clean. In addition if your dad is exhibiting symptoms of OCD, then perhaps he warrants treatment or further evaluation by a psychiatrist. Either way, its a good firs step towards staying healthy.