OCD and the Workplace

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 26, 2013

Some people think that being diagnosed with OCD carries with it a lifetime sentence of under-employment and dependency. Fortunately, with a more enlightened workplace and advances in diagnosis and treatment options, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Of course the degree to which OCD will impact your employability and work choices depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. It also depends on the particular employer.

While it’s illegal to discriminate against someone for a medical condition who is otherwise qualified for a job, there are ways an employer can make life unpleasant without technically violating the law. This makes it important to know as much as possible about a potential employer’s history and policies toward workers with disabilities. There are many who are supportive and make accommodations for employees with challenges, both mental and physical. If you can get a copy of the company’s policies, you may even find that they have policies in place that address equity in the workplace and clear statements of how disabilities are to be handled.

It’s also important to know that you are not required to disclose your condition, either before or after being hired. The drawback of not disclosing, though, is that you may not be able to exercise some rights or benefits without prior disclosure.

The type and severity of your symptoms can play a role in your work choices, too. If your symptoms are manageable or don’t manifest themselves outwardly, you may find that they are not an issue. However, if they interfere with the conduct of your job, you may need to seek a type of work and/or a work environment that can accommodate your needs. This is especially true if you are taking medications that impact your ability to perform certain tasks such as driving or operating machinery. Your attitude toward your disorder can also play a big role in how successful you will be in different work environments.

If you are considering entering the workplace or are having difficulties on the job, be sure to discuss it with your therapist. Fears, anxieties, and symptoms can be addressed and solutions can be sought to help you be a valuable asset to not only your employer, but yourself and your family, too.

Beyond OCD is a non-profit organization committed to offering OCD sufferers and their loved ones the latest information about the disorder and its treatment. We have numerous online resources to help you learn more about how you can manage OCD as you interact with the challenges of the workaday world and life in general. 

To learn more, visit our web site at BeyondOCD.org. It’s there to help you get the information you need to go beyond OCD.


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