Helping Someone You Love
Information for Friends and Family

Managing Emotions and Adjusting Attitudes

It’s important to realize that everyone in the family experiences emotional ups and downs when a family member has OCD.  The person undergoing CBT therapy for OCD also has these emotional fluctuations.  This is normal as therapy progresses. Many people have suffered with OCD for years, and the family has been an unwilling or regretful participant in the ritualistic compulsions for a long time.  The road to recovery will probably not take nearly as long as the time you’ve already spent being unhappy with or embarrassed by OCD.

Along the way, though, every day you have the opportunity to help your loved one fight back against the OCD disorder.  Negative thinking or impatience will make it harder to accomplish family goals—and excessive criticism and lack of patience may even trigger a set-back.

As your loved one struggles with homework exercises, or even when therapy is completed, it’s normal to have some symptoms reoccur from time to time.  You can help your loved one most by helping them get back on track with their exposure exercises, and keeping an optimistic and understanding outlook and tone.

Talk frankly with the therapist about how you can be supportive and optimistic through trying times, and how you can manage your own emotional health and that of your family.

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