OCD Awareness Week

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an often talked about but rarely understood condition that affects nearly 1 in every 40 adults in the US alone. Most know OCD as a condition that cause someone to maybe repeat something, over-clean their home or count to a certain number when doing certain tasks. However, OCD is much more than those stereotypes.

The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), has made it their goal to try and help educate people on what OCD is and how it affects people all over the world. To help start this learning process, the IOCDF began OCD Awareness Week that occurs every year during the second full week of October.

 According to Psychiatry.org, OCD is, “an anxiety disorder in which time people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions).” A full diagnosis requires a few more significant factors, such as being diagnosed by a medical professional and can be treated with medication or other forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy. But support from family and friends can also be a powerful tool in helping someone improve their OCD.

For those people who have a loved one that suffers from OCD, here are some things you can do to help them:

  • Be encouraging to them and try to actively help them begin the therapy process. Criticism and hostility can actually hurt progress. This includes using such phrases as, “Why don’t you just stop?”

  • You should also stop enabling their ritualistic behavior. This means that you should not participate or be accommodating. Doing so can in fact be harmful to them in the long run.

  • Acknowledge the little steps of improvement they are taking. To you, something as insignificant as not washing their hands one less time than normal can be a big step for your loved one. Recognizing these things shows them that their hard work is paying off and that you’re there for support.

  • Be sure to take care of yourself too. It can be easy to get stressed by a loved one’s attempt at treatment, but in the end, you are a much better supporter when you’re at your best.

  • Lastly, you should try to establish a positive atmosphere around them. Communication is key and showing to them that you are there for support.

For more information about how you can help your loved one with OCD, take a look at some more steps on how you can help by visiting the International OCD Foundation website and read up on various articles on how to help treat, live with, and support someone with OCD.

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