How do I help someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder

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Those affected have a strong need for security and feel most comfortable in their familiar surroundings and with their usual processes. They do not tolerate changes! They cause restlessness and irritation - or even outbursts of anger. It is also characteristic that the obsessions and compulsive actions are associated with a pronounced sense of shame. For this reason, they try to hide them from their surroundings for as long as possible and slowly withdraw from their surroundings.

For fear of making mistakes, those affected avoid everyday decisions as much as possible. To make matters worse, they blame themselves for their inability to make decisions. External criticism can further reinforce this tendency.

Sometimes it seems to relatives that the coercion is directed against them, for example when they experience that the coercion can be better controlled outside the home than in their own four walls. However, this is due to the nature of the disease. Affected people feel overly responsible and obliged for all sorts of things over which they do not have to influence! (If only I had helped the neighbor clear away snow, he would not have fallen and injured his arm.)

Relatives are often very involved, which is generally to be valued. However, they should pay attention to their own limits and needs and live an active everyday life so as not to fall ill themselves. It is important to use the remaining non-constrained rooms together.

From a therapeutic point of view, it makes sense to include the relatives in the treatment. Helpful strategies for dealing with compulsive situations can be worked out together with the therapist and the person affected. In the course of exposure treatment, responsibility should slowly be returned to the patient. As a family member, you should also notice small progress and praise the person concerned for it!