You Are Not Alone
Information for Individuals

Recovery Avoidance

Even though CBT treatment may be uncomfortable for a time, living with OCD is far worse.  OCD won’t get better without treatment.

Some people who become knowledgeable about OCD and understand that there is an effective treatment available still do not commit to therapy and do not get relief from OCD.  This can be frustrating for loved ones who want to see their family member or friend recover from this disorder.  And it can also be distressing for the person who suffers from OCD.

Sometimes a person who suffers from OCD may find it extremely difficult to begin treatment or commit to treatment.  Understanding the reasons why some people avoid recovery can be a first step toward overcoming the avoidance.

Some of the common reasons why recovery avoidance occurs are:

  • Comfort with OCD—the rituals performed have become so familiar that performing these mental or physical acts seems like a “normal” part of life.
  • Being unable to imagine life without OCD—life without rituals seems too good to be true, or not possible to achieve.
  • Family members enabling OCD—participating in rituals to help their loved one cope with compulsions.  In fact, the OCD sufferer may be manipulating the family by claiming to be worse if the family doesn’t take part in the rituals, and so the rituals go on forever.
  • Fear of medication, side effects or fear of increased anxiety during treatment.
  • Obsessing over finding the “perfect” treatment—getting “stuck” in the ritual of searching for the perfect treatment program or treatment provider, never actually beginning treatment.

Although it can feel risky or uncomfortable to start a treatment program, treatment can never be worse than the anxiety caused by untreated OCD.

Learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Learn more about choosing a therapist

Read personal stories of others who have successfully been treated for OCD

Read Expert Perspectives on OCD treatment

Find books about gaining control over OCD

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