How Does Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Affect a Relationship?

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder, called OCD for short, is an anxiety disorder. A person with OCD experiences strong obsessions and compulsions. It is believed to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Currently, there is no cure for OCD, only treatment. Treatment consists of medication and cognitive behavioral modification therapy. Finding the right medication and dosage is a matter of trial and error. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another.

How OCD Affects Relationships

Obsessive compulsive order not only affects the person who has it, but also their close family and friends. Unwanted thoughts cause extreme anxiety in the person with OCD. The process of acting out compulsions can take up a large portion of the person's day. People with OCD are often embarrassed about their illness. They know that their obsessions and compulsions do not make sense, but even so, they cannot control their behavior.

The person with OCD may expect the family members to comply with her compulsions. For instance: if she has an obsession with germs, she may want family members to wash their hands repeatedly as well. Family members often find it frustrating to comply with OCD demands. Noncompliance causes anxiety in the OCD person, who may then act out in desperation and yell at noncompliant family members.

It is also difficult to watch the life of a loved one with OCD diminish in quality. In severe cases of OCD, the person may be so consumed in carrying out compulsions that she is unable to leave the house.

Helping Your Loved One

Dealing with a person who has OCD is emotionally difficult and draining. It is understandable to experience periods of feeling hopeless when dealing with a loved one with OCD. It is important to realize, that no matter how bad you feel, your loved one feels worse. Remember that he cannot control his behavior; he is ill.

The best way to deal with a loved one with OCD is to encourage him to seek help from a psychiatrist experienced in treating obsessive compulsive disorder. Get help for yourself as well. Attending counseling services can help you to learn ways to deal with the stress involved with having a loved one with OCD.

Understand that OCD treatment takes time. Enjoy the good moments and stay strong during the bad moments. Be supportive of your loved ones efforts to treat their illness. With time and experimentation, the doctors will find the right medication to help your loved one. Underneath the symptoms of OCD, is the person that you love.

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