Talking to a Loved One About Their OCDPosted by tlashkari on May 05, 2014
We often refer to persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as “sufferers,” and suffering is, indeed, a major symptom of OCD. If the sufferer is a person close to you, a person you love, simply letting them know you care can be a big part of helping them through their struggles.
To communicate sympathetically with an OCD sufferer, it is important to understand what OCD is and how it affects the person you care about. There are several sources for gaining a better understanding of OCD and its treatment. Beyond OCD is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing OCD sufferers and those who care about them with the latest information on OCD, its diagnosis and its treatment. The website BeyondOCD.org offers a variety of resources for understanding and dealing with OCD, as well as support programs in the Chicago area. Chances are there are OCD support groups in your area, too, and Beyond OCD has a link to help you find them.
OCD breeds confusion, guilt and fear in its victims. Understand that fear is a big part of the suffering OCD patients go through. This can be especially troublesome in younger sufferers who might lack mature coping mechanisms. Learn about the things their therapist is having them do to diffuse or block their obsessive thoughts or compulsive behavior and do what you can to reinforce positive responses without being judgmental or negative.
Understand, too, that OCD is a burden and that anything you can do to lighten the load will help. But you also need to know the difference between helping and enabling. A good place to start is with the therapist treating your loved one. Beyond OCD also has lists of recommended books and websites that offer resources to learn about the disorder.
Above all, let the person suffering know that they are not alone. Millions of men, women and children of all backgrounds and ethnicities have OCD. Add in their families, friends, teachers and co-workers and the number of people impacted by OCD grows exponentially. The good news is that effective treatments do exist and ongoing research increases the ability to diagnose and treat the condition.
Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential to taking control over OCD and gaining relief. Becoming knowledgeable about OCD is critical to finding the right treatment and overcoming this frequently debilitating illness. Organizations like Beyond OCD are there to help you get the help you need to go beyond it to a brighter future.