It is challenging to have a loved one struggle with OCD, and it can be difficult to know what you should do to help them. Their behaviors are probably frustrating to you at times, but there are things you can do to help support them.
Dr. Ileana Berman is a cognitive science researcher who focuses on drawing connections between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Schizophrenia. She shares her advice for supporting a loved one who struggles with OCD:
- Learn as much as you can about the condition. OCD is incredible misunderstood, and it is impossible to truly support someone if you don’t understand what they are struggling with.
- Be patient and non-judgemental. Your loved one way be uncomfortable opening up to you about their compulsions, obsessions, and intrusive thoughts. They have probably been trying to hide it for a long time. Establish trust by not reacting with shock or judgement when they open up.
- Do not enable the behavior. While you want to remain non-judgemental, you also don’t want to participate in or facilitate the obsessive and compulsive behavior. It can be hard to see them struggling, but you don’t want to overly accommodate their behavior. That won’t help them get better.
- Make sure to check in with them and ask them how they feel. Be respectful and kind when you talk to them. It’s also a good idea to encourage them to seek professional treatment for OCD. Family sessions can be a helpful component of treatment if the person with OCD is your family member.