The Role of Families in OCD Treatment

Those who care about the individual receiving OCD treatment want to know what they can do to help their loved one get better. Obsessive compulsive disorder, more commonly referred to as OCD, is a neurobiological anxiety disorder that affects people of all ages, races and genders. Like other mental disorders, OCD doesn't affect just the individual with the disorder, but also family and friends.

OCD Treatment: First Steps
The best place for families to start is to read up on OCD and learn as much as possible. Understanding the causes of OCD will answer many questions and perhaps alleviate some unnecessary guilt you've been feeling.

The next step is to learn about the various OCD treatments. Get to know what's expected of the patient and what you can do to offer support. Dig into the details of medications, learning their purpose and potential side effects.

The person in your life with OCD is going to need you to be strong for them; arming yourself with information will go a long way toward providing knowledge you can use to build your strength.

Encourage and Refuse
Encourage the afflicted person in your life to get, and continue, OCD treatment, even when that person is reluctant.

Refuse to participate in the OCD rituals that person performs. Stop making excuses for OCD behaviors and never enable them. Going along with OCD rituals as if they are acceptable reinforces those behaviors for the OCD sufferer.

Share what you've learned about OCD. People who have mental health disorders often feel that what they are experiencing is unique to them, and that there is little hope for successful treatment. By sharing what you've learned through your reading and research, the sufferer might very well find the hope and motivation they need to move forward.

Therapy will aid the family in better understanding the person's disorder. Therapy can help to reduce conflict and stress within the family, not only in dealing with OCD symptoms, but also with changes that will occur as treatment progresses. 

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can help family members learn how to avoid reinforcing the behaviors of a person with OCD. For example, there may be an agreement or contract established detailing how each family member will respond to those behaviors.

Remain Positive
Treatment and recovery are not short-term processes. Stay positive and supportive of the person with OCD. If you're dealing with frustrating behaviors, remember that you are having negative feelings about the behavior, not about the person who is exhibiting it.

The goal is for family and home life to be as free of stress and normal as possible. However, you must realize that as the person enters treatment and begins recovery, the changes that ensue will result in some stressful periods. Maintaining a sense of humor and having the knowledge that changes will occur will aid in making the stressful periods more bearable for everyone involved.

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