Obsessive compulsive behavior disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by various obsessions and compulsions. It is one of the more common mental health disorders and can affect both children and adults. The symptoms often begin in early adulthood, and unless the patient receives treatment, the disorder will become a long term problem. Because it is fairly common, it is not unusual to have an OCD sufferer in the immediate family, so finding out how to help someone with OCD will hopefully make your life (and theirs) a little more bearable.
When it comes to OCD, and indeed any other mental health condition, knowledge is power. The more you know about the condition, the greater your understanding will be and you will find it easier to cope with the various symptoms of the illness. One of the biggest problems with mental health disorders is the ignorance many sufferers face. OCD is an illness just like any other and the patient has no control over their symptoms, so instead of criticizing the person, gaining a deeper knowledge will help you show more understanding of what they are experiencing.
Learn how to help someone with OCD cope with their symptoms
The life of an OCD sufferer will be ruled by obsessive thoughts and compulsive ritualistic behavior, but it is very difficult for an outsider to fully appreciate and understand how the mind of an OCD person works. But rather than let the rest of the family suffer because of the person’s OCD rituals and compulsive behavior patterns, it is very important that normal life is allowed to continue as much as possible.
In the beginning, it might seem like the easy option to go along with the rituals in order to help the OCD person, but in the long run, your resentment will grow and you will struggle to find a reason to continue. By refusing to adapt to the OCD rituals, it will encourage the patient to try and change their behavior, but if in doubt over the best course of action, a family therapist will be able to advise you on the best ways to support the OCD person.
Family therapy is a very important part of OCD treatment. Although an OCD patient will require specialist help to enable them to control their anxiety and break the compulsive behavior patterns, encouraging other family members to come along and support the patient can often be a great help. However, if the patient resists, it is wise to respect their decision.
Many OCD sufferers find it difficult to accept they have a problem. To an outsider, the bizarre rituals and compulsive behaviour patterns an OCD patient follows will seem incomprehensible, but for the patient, it is a safety net and a way of dealing with anxiety and stressful situations. As such, it can be difficult to encourage the person to seek help. So if you meet with denial when suggesting that there might be a problem, it is important to remain as supportive as possible and give the person time to come to terms with their problem.