Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition with two characteristics: obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted or intrusive thoughts, worries, or fears that can cause anxiety or mental discomfort. Compulsions are the urge to carry out specific behaviors to relieve anxiety caused by the obsessions. While many of us have fears or worries about things from time to time, OCD can disrupt daily life for those who have it.
If you have a loved one that struggles with OCD, Ashley Johnson, DO, and the rest of our team at Colorado Recovery Solutions want you to understand how to help them and support them as they battle this mental health condition.
One of the best things you can do for a loved one with OCD is learn as much information about the condition as possible, which can help you understand what they’re going through and give you some ideas on how to help them.
You can do this by reading books or listening to podcasts by licensed mental health professionals.
Your friend or family member may feel ashamed of their obsessions and compulsions and feel the need to keep them a secret. However, it’s vital that you create an environment where they feel safe to share what they’re going through without being judged.
Be compassionate and patient so that they always feel comfortable talking to you about what’s going on with their mental health.
Love and support are essential for any relationship, but it’s critical for those struggling with mental health. While helping them carry out their compulsions doesn’t relieve their symptoms, refusing to acknowledge their struggles can be counterproductive.
One way you can help without accommodating or enabling them is to develop a plan together to counteract the need to carry out a compulsion. You can try coming up with an alternative to the compulsion, offering emotional support, or helping them to set appropriate boundaries.
While OCD isn’t curable, it is treatable and manageable. One of the most supportive and loving things you can do for your loved one is to help them search for proper treatment. You can do this by encouraging them to find a good therapist or doctor, offering to take them to appointments, and keeping them accountable as they work through treatment.
It can be tough to know how to help someone as they cope with their mental health condition. Make sure and take time for self-care as you support your loved one.
If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD and would like more information on how to treat and manage it, don’t hesitate to contact our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can call us or schedule an appointment using our online booking tool today.