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Helping Someone with OCD


There are many faces of this disorder. It can be difficult to watch someone you love spend so much time on their obsessions or compulsions. You may become irritated or angry at the time spent on what you consider irrational rituals. It is important to take a step back and realize that your discomfort is with the disorder, not the person. It is only when you do this that you are in a position to help your loved one overcome something that is making the quality of their life much less than it could be.

One of the best ways to help someone with OCD is to encourage them to seek help from an OCD specialist. This can mean admission to an OCD treatment center or individual counseling with a therapist that understands and has extensive specific experience treating OCD.

Empathize but don’t enable. You can let them know you understand why they feel the way they do. What you don’t want to do is enable them. Don’t join in their rituals to make them feel better, don’t help them avoid situations that make them uncomfortable and don’t validate their fears. Try to gently encourage them to make small changes and let them know you are there to help them. Celebrate even minor improvements. For example, if someone feels they must check the door lock a half dozen times before they leave, allow them to check the lock and then gently redirect them toward the car.

Helping someone with OCD takes patience and love but will be worth whatever effort you exert.

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