Substance or Medication-Induced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive behavior is formed by a group of seemingly repetitive and uncontrollable behaviors driven by different obsessions. The latter ones are unwanted urges, ideas and images that intrude people’s consciousness.

These obsessions are also linked to compulsive behaviors, which are specific actions that people feel compelled to do either in response or in efforts to control their obsessions.


Obsessive-compulsive behaviors can be body-focused, including pulling out hair and picking at the skin. Both compulsions and obsessions can happen either alone or in a combination, or they can be a part of different obsessive compulsive disorders, including substance or medication induced one.

Explaining Substance-Induced OCD

Unlike intrusive ideas and transient emotions that all people may experience from time to time, especially if they feel stressed, or occasional habitual behaviors that they also engage in, substance or medication induced obsessive compulsive disorder is much worse and harder for patients to control. Although this mental condition is rare, its negative outcomes can be quite serious.

In rare cases, compulsions have realistic connections to the obsessions they need to prevent or neutralize. They form certain ritualistic behaviors designed to decrease anxiety, but they only worsen people’s overall condition.

While some patients with obsessive compulsive disorders know that those beliefs and ideas that form a part of their obsessions aren’t true, some are less sure, and others are 100% convinced that these thoughts are true, even if they are delusions. When doctors give a diagnosis of medication-induced obsessive compulsive disorder, they do their best to ensure that both compulsions and obsessions weren’t present before taking the drugs that are responsible for them. That’s because there are many OCD types, so if specific symptoms were present before the use of responsible substances, this mental condition is not medication or substance induced.

How Long It Takes for Drugs to Induce Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

In some cases, it happens almost instantly, which means that the episodes of obsessive compulsive behaviors start when people are high in specific drugs. Sometimes, it also happens during their withdrawal, but there are many serious mental conditions common for this period. It’s necessary for patients to receive their ongoing assessment while going through a detox process. This is what helps them ensure that they’re correctly diagnosed and their symptoms are treated effectively.

In most cases, a diagnosis of medication or substance induced obsessive compulsive disorder isn’t made if people have a history of this mental condition or if their symptoms continue for 1 month or longer after becoming abstinent from them.

Different obsessive compulsive behaviors are a part of patients’ delirium that can be substance or medication induced, too. If it’s the only instance when symptoms are present, then this diagnosis is not given either.

To make this diagnosis, doctors watch for any major impact that obsessive compulsive behaviors have on the lives of their patients. They may cause a lot of distress or impair different life aspects, including people’s employment, social life and so on.

Medications and Substances That Can Induce OCD

Unlike manty other medication or substance induced disorders, a number of drugs responsible for causing obsessive compulsive disorder is very limited to the brands and types mentioned below, so it’s important to discuss any pharmaceutical product with your doctor:

• Amphetamines and other stimulants;

• Cocaine and other substances, both known and unknown.