Helping Someone You Love
Information for Friends and Family

Stop Accommodating OCD

You can be supportive of the person you love who is suffering, but stop supporting the disorder.  When the family stops accommodating OCD behavior, the person who suffers from OCD can become more motivated to seek treatment.


Perhaps you’ve already tried a variety of ways to help your family member live with OCD:

  • Getting involved in performing rituals (such as checking door locks, providing constant reassurances,
  • Helping decontaminate clothing, food or even entire rooms), or
  • Having “logical” conversations or debating with them about their behavior.

 

None of this will actually make OCD stop.

In fact, participating in OCD behaviors strengthens the disorder.  Protecting a family member from the negative consequences of obsessions and compulsions can decrease the motivation for obtaining treatment.

To make positive changes, you need to realize that the entire family must adopt new behaviors—to change the way they interact with the OCD sufferer and stop reinforcing OCD behavior.

You can be supportive of the person you love who is suffering, but stop supporting the disorder.  When the family stops accommodating OCD behavior, the person who suffers from OCD can become more motivated to seek treatment.

How Do I Stop?

A cognitive behavior therapist can guide you through the process of decreasing (and stopping) your participation in OCD behavior.  Doing it with the help of a therapist is important as sudden changes in responses can cause things at home to spin out of control, creating anger and increased stress that can worsen symptoms.

Your goal is to help restore balance and normalcy in the home.  A better future begins with encouraging your loved one to get treatment, discontinuing accommodating OCD behavior and helping restore self-esteem by supporting the OCD sufferer with understanding and belief in their ability to succeed.

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