Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

OCD and Eating Disorders

It is all too common for eating disorders to be accompanied by co-occurring conditions—and one of the most serious of all is obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. While OCD is well known, it is not necessarily well understood. Much of what passes for conventional wisdom is in fact caricature and stigma, so it is worth looking at OCD with some clear, accurate details. Essentially, in order to receive a diagnosis of OCD, you have to meet a narrow set of criteria:
  • You have to have obsessions and compulsions;
  • Those obsessions and compulsions must have a big impact on your day to day life; and
  • Your obsessions and compulsions must be unreasonable—whether you realize it or not.
An obsession is an impulsive, intrusive, and pervasive habit—often a harmful one, but not necessarily so. Those who have OCD will have an exceedingly hard time dismissing or ignoring these obsessions. As for compulsions, those involve habitual or ritualistic behavior that you feel like you must perform, or else something bad will happen. These compulsive behaviors will usually take at least an hour to perform each day, and sometimes much more. That is a rough description of what OCD is, but it is also worth mentioning what it is not. Simply being neat or tidy is not evidence of OCD, despite claims to the contrary. Real OCD must significantly impair your normal, everyday life, which general tidiness or a penchant for cleanliness just doesn’t. Often, OCD can arise from some of the same psychological roots that yield eating disorders. The good news is that OCD is not something you have to just live with. Recovery is possible, but it does require treatment. Dual diagnosis care can get to the root of both OCD and an eating disorder—and pave the way for a life of healing and wholeness. Have you struggled with OCD? Share your story with us!