Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an often-misunderstood disease. Due to common misconceptions, many families make mistakes when it comes to their relationships with relatives who have OCD. If someone you love is living with OCD, it may help you to learn about these mistakes and the disorder, so you can properly support your relative.
What Is OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a chronic and long-lasting, anxiety-driven disease that causes a person to have reoccurring, uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors that they feel compelled to repeat. Acting out the compulsive behaviors often provides the sufferer with a sense of relief—although short-lived. Unfortunately, the intrusive thoughts or obsessions come back repeatedly, leading to more compulsive behaviors. It can feel like a vicious cycle for the sufferer and relatives alike.
Many misunderstand OCD, primarily because of portrayals in the media that show the OCD sufferer being neat freaks and perfectionists. The truth is OCD goes far beyond these stigmas. It’s a complex and severe mental illness, and your loved one needs the support of family and mental health professionals.
3 Common Mistakes Families Make in Interactions with OCD Loved Ones
Because you care about your relative, you may be looking for ways to improve your relationship and provide the support they need. Avoiding common mistakes is a great place to begin. To guide you, here are five common mistakes families tend to make:
#1: Denying the OCD Disease
Pretending or suggesting that your loved one is just a little odd or explaining away the symptoms is unhelpful. It can keep your relative from admitting they have a problem and getting the professional help they need.
#2: Enabling the OCD Sufferer
Allowing or participating in your relative’s compulsive behaviors can exacerbate the issue. The only way to treat OCD is to stop the compulsions, which is very challenging. You may think you are being kind or compassionate, but it’s best not to go along with or encourage the behavior.
As with any mental health issue, it’s never helpful to shame or criticize a sufferer for something they cannot control. It wouldn’t be acceptable to shame someone with a heart defect, and the same is true for someone with a mental illness like OCD. The more shame a person feels, the more intense their disorder may become.
Find Compassionate Therapy for OCD
At Positive Living Psychotherapy, we specialize in treating people suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If you or a loved one needs professional help, he’ll be there to offer a safe therapeutic environment to help you find healing and peace.
Whether you have OCD or are trying to avoid the mistakes families make with OCD relatives, schedule a counseling session with us online now or call 770.552.0333 for a free phone consultation.