Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a relatively rare mental illness. It is most known for triggering involuntary, recurring thoughts and behaviors. However, people with the illness can also develop some significant physical complications. An effective OCD treatment program can help diminish the impact of your main symptoms. As a result, it can also help reduce your risks for additional health complications.
Basics of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD symptoms center around two main issues. The first issue is the presence of distressing and recurring ideas, thoughts, and/or bodily sensations. Doctors collectively refer to these things as obsessions. The second issue in people with OCD is rigid, repetitive behavior is driven by those obsessions. Doctors refer to behaviors of this type as compulsions. You can also have compulsions not directly related to your obsessions.
What Causes Physical OCD Complications?
Why are physical complications possible in people with OCD? This can happen in a couple of ways. First, your compulsions may drive you to do things that can have a significant physical effect. For example, you may wash your hands excessively or repeatedly brush your teeth.
In addition, the time you spend fulfilling your compulsions may lead you to neglect important aspects of your everyday health. One possible consequence of this indirect neglect is damage to your physical well-being. People with severe OCD have the greatest risks for neglect-related harm.
Potential OCD Complications
If OCD causes you to wash your hands excessively, you may develop something called contact dermatitis. This is the name for a rash triggered by skin irritation or an allergic reaction. If you repeatedly brush your teeth, you may end up harming your oral health in several ways. For example, you may wear down the enamel protecting the surface of your teeth. You may also irritate your gums or even cause them to recede.
Indirect physical neglect in people with OCD can lead to a variety of substantial problems. Potential examples of these problems include:
- Severe dehydration
- An unhealthy high or low body weight
- High cholesterol
- Kidney damage
Research shows that most people with severe OCD experience at least some of these issues.
Complications Associated With OCD Symptoms
Some physical complications are directly or indirectly caused by OCD. However, there are also other issues associated with the illness. OCD does not cause these problems, per se. Instead, people with the disorder have higher chances of developing them. Risks are also higher if you have some OCD symptoms, but not enough for an official diagnosis. Potential associated issues include:
- Respiratory conditions
- Migraine headaches
- Thyroid problems
People affected by these issues experience greater overall disability than those who only have OCD.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment Can Help
Proper treatment can help ease the impact of OCD on your day-to-day life. For this reason, it may also help you avoid any serious physical complications. Therapy is a frontline treatment for OCD. One common option is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. You may also benefit from antidepressant medications called SSRIs. If you have severe OCD, it’s common to receive both medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Learn More About OCD Complications at New Start Recovery
For more information on potential complications of OCD, contact the professionals at New Start Recovery. We’ll explain the possible effects of the disorder. New Start also specializes in the treatment of mental health issues. That includes issues that occur alongside an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our approach to treatment focuses on the use of multiple forms of therapy, both individually and in groups. In addition, we support your recovery with help from family therapy. To learn more, call us today at 833.433.0448 or reach out through our convenient online form.