OCD and Addictive Personality: The Link

Dealing with comorbid conditions when struggling with addiction is incredibly difficult. In this blog, we will look at the link between OCD and addictive personalities and how it can affect those who use substances. Plus, we offer resources and ways to start your journey to sobriety today. 

If you or a loved one could benefit from 12 Steps to Recovery, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn about our comfortable residential setting.

Are People With OCD More Likely to Have Addictive Personalities?

It’s becoming more clear that those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD are more likely to develop addictive behaviors compared to the general population. Lots of studies are coming out supporting this fact, and this news can be especially discouraging to those who struggle with both addiction and OCD. But there is hope in the form of innovative therapies and diligent professionals are actively searching for answers to this epidemic. 

What is The Connection Between OCD and Addiction?

This is still an area that needs more study, but there are some factors that many believe may be contributing:

  • Shared neurobiology: OCD and addiction both involve the brain’s reward system. This part of the brain is responsible for pleasure and motivation, which can make those with OCD more likely to seek pleasurable experiences. 
  • Compulsivity: Those with OCD are more compulsive and engage in ritualistic behaviors that can resemble addictions, 
  • Coping mechanism: OCD is not an easy thing to live with, and many without the right treatment may turn to substances to find relief. 
  • Shared genetic vulnerabilities: Genetics play a role in both addiction and OCD. If there is a family history of either, it can put the individual at more risk. 

OCD vs. Addiction: Understanding the Differences

While OCD and addiction can go hand in hand, there are some differences between them, namely:


  • This is obsessive or intrusive thoughts and compulsions.
  • OCD is anxiety and fear-based.
  • Behaviors are not wanted. 
  • It may end in social isolation and impaired functioning. 


  • The individual engages in compulsive behaviors despite the consequences.
  • Comes with cravings.
  • Behaviors are engaged in for pleasure at first. 
  • Leads to harm in plenty of areas of life.

OCD and Drug Abuse

When OCD and drug abuse coincide, treatment can become quite complicated. Substance abuse can make OCD even worse, leading to increased anxiety and compulsions. Withdrawals can also trigger OCD symptoms or cause new ones. 

Finding Treatment for Co-Occurring OCD and Addiction

There are many things that can be done for OCD and addiction when someone is looking for treatment. Below are some examples of treatments that Myrtle Beach Recovery offer or can refer you to that might help. To find out if they will help you, speak to a professional for a personalized plan. 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapy helps people find and replace harmful thought patterns and coping mechanisms. 
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP): Exposure therapy gradually introduces triggers and helps the person with OCD overcome the behaviors surrounding them.
  • Medication: Some medications can help with both OCD and addiction. 
  • Support groups: Having a strong support network is important for those suffering from both OCD and addiction. 

Resources for OCD and Addiction

You never have to struggle alone with OCD and addiction. Many have overcome both and gone on to live productive, happy lives. Professional treatment and treatment with a residential setting like Myrtle Beach Recovery may be the way forward for you. Reach out today to see if we can help you.