Case Study: OCD and Alcohol

Marla W. is a 40-year-old woman with a secret: She has been compulsively washing her hands for many years, and cannot stop. She began drinking to try to relax, but found herself gradually drinking more and more in an attempt to cope with what she knew was very unhealthy behavior. She feels triggered to wash her hands whenever she thinks of “germs,” and feels that she cannot get them clean enough. She sometimes washes up to 100 times a day, and has constricted her life so others will not see her. When she drinks, she is alone.
The substance abuse treatment counselor discovers Marla W.'s obsession when she notices Marla W.'s repeated trips to the rest room. She discusses Marla W.'s symptoms and assures her that some medication and therapies may be able to help her overcome the disorder. She refers Marla W. to the psychiatrist for assistance.

From: Appendix D: Specific Mental Disorders: Additional Guidance for the Counselor

Cover of Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders
Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 42.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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