How to Help Someone With OCD

Knowing how to help someone with OCD can save your relationship with him. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is an anxiety disorder marked by unwanted and constant obsessions and compulsions. OCD can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life, if left untreated.

  1. Learn about OCD. If you do not understand the disorder, you will be unable to help someone with OCD. Research the disease and treatments so you can be as understanding and supportive as possible to the person suffering with the disorder.
  2. Let the person know that you are there for him. Many people with OCD feel shut off from society, due to embarrassment about the disease. Letting the person know you are there if he needs you can help someone with OCD feel less alone.
  3. Be open to the possibility of joining the person in a therapy session, if he feels it is needed. Therapy can be a neutral environment to talk about feelings and worries, or resolve any issues that have arisen.
  4. Make sure that you are not aiding the person’s obsessions or compulsions. You may be unaware that you were participating in the person’s obsessions or compulsions, such as washing your hands as he washes his or helping him avoid a feared situation by doing things and going places for him. Another example would be checking the locks in the house with him to relieve the obsession that the house is not safe.
  5. Encourage the person to engage in his treatment and medication regimen. Be prepared to respond if the patient refuses therapy.
  6. Attend a support group for loved ones of patients with OCD. Connecting with and sharing experiences with people in a similar situation can encourage you to keep working at it.


International OCD Foundation: Families and OCD

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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