Trying to understand friends who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be frustrating and confusing. This anxiety condition causes your loved one to struggle with obsessions, or recurring, distressing thoughts. You then witness your friend go through the motions of compulsive actions to ease their uncontrollable anxiety.
If you’re not sure how to deal with someone with OCD, don’t get discouraged. There are many ways you can support your friend and encourage them to get the treatment they need.
How OCD Affects Relationships
The impact of OCD reaches far beyond the person struggling with this disorder. Trying to be a supportive friend can be demanding. Maybe you’ve become involved in their rituals. Or, you may have assumed some level of responsibility for their care and daily activities that your friend is unable to undertake. However, there is a better, healthier way to help your loved one with OCD.
How to Help a Friend With OCD
While OCD is bound to affect your relationship, helping your friend gain control over their disorder can help. Understanding and effective treatment are the only ways to restore the relationship that’s been strained by the demands of this disorder.
How to Help Someone With OCD Intrusive Thoughts
Many people with OCD experience intrusive thoughts and intense fears that something terrible will happen to themselves or someone they love. It’s heartbreaking to watch your friend suffer from these obsessive and invasive anxieties.
These obsessions are demanding, but’s important to realize that are one of the main symptoms of this serious disorder. Understanding this should help you approach their fears with compassion and empathy.
How to Avoid Enabling Your Friends’s OCD Symptoms
Maybe you’ve found yourself doing some of the following to try to help your friend:
- Joining them in rituals, such as checking door locks
- Constantly reassuring them when they’re anxious about something
- Helping them avoid triggers
Through these kinds of accommodations, friends and families of those with OCD sometimes enable their disorder. This behavior won’t make their OCD better. You may actually intensify their symptoms. Let your friend know the ways you’ve been accommodating their OCD and tell them that you want to start decreasing your participation in rituals.
How to Encourage Your Friend to Seek Help
Helping your friend find an effective treatment for OCD is one of the best ways you can help them. Let your friend know that you only want what’s best for them. Once they start, encourage them to actively participate in the therapeutic process.
How to Help Someone With OCD Who is in Denial
Some people with OCD try to downplay their symptoms. Others refuse to acknowledge that a problem even exists. This denial prevents them from getting help or learning more about their disorder.
If your friend struggles with OCD but refuses to seek treatment, there are a number of ways to support them:
- Attempt to understand where they are coming from. Rituals give them comfort, and they may be afraid to give them up.
- Talk to your friend about OCD support groups. A group may feel less intimidating than therapy.
- Take care of yourself. Although you can be a source of support, you are not responsible for their recovery.
Tell Your Friend About Gateway Foundation
Many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder use drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress and anxiety they experience daily. If your friend struggles with addiction along with OCD, they need comprehensive treatment that can address both issues. At Gateway Foundation, your friend will receive evidence-based treatment from caring professionals who will walk alongside them toward a life in recovery.
Contact Gateway Foundation to learn how we are helping people throughout Illinois find hope and healing.