OCD Do's and Dont's

A Partner and Family Guide to Dealing with OCD


hp-anxiety-art-187-healthyplaceDO: Be Supportive. Talk about the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Listen to the loved one. Try to be understanding during stressful time's and praise any improvements made during treatment. Try and improve the sufferers self-esteem, confidence, and boost their self-image. Encourage the individual by letting them know that they are NOT alone and that treatment for OCD is available. Work with the Professionals and the individual in setting workable guidelines to follow at home. Encourage the OCDer that there are OCD medications and behavior therapy programs for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to help them and assure them them their symptoms can be reduced significantly. Suggest that they join a Support Group with you or by themselves.

DO: Be Consistent. Set rules for behavior and stick to them. As much as possible it is important to keep a normal family routine. All communication about rules and guidelines must be consistent, clear and simple.

DO:Be Positive. Remember OCD is no one's fault. The OCD is an ILLNESS, not part of someone's PERSONALITY.

DO: Be Informed. Get as much information as possible on the illness, booklets, pamphlets, video's etc, and educate both yourself, the family, and the sufferer on all aspects of the illness.

DO: Remember. You deserve support too. You can feel overlooked if you are the partner or parent of an OCD'er, but OCD is a very stressful illness. you may benefit by talking to others who share this issue. Join a Support Group and any other helpful resources available.


DON'T: Get involved with the person's Obsessions and Rituals. This only makes them worse by acknowledging them. This then gives the Compulsions some kind of credibility and worth, which they DO NOT deserve. Don't be persuaded to participate in the obsessive-compulsive behavior, but detach yourself from them with LOVE, don't refuse in an angry or aggressive way.

DON'T:Be tempted or persuaded by tears or emotional blackmail. The sufferer is just that - suffering, but giving into their Compulsions will only make their symptoms worse, making the illness harder to get rid of.

DON'T:Be afraid to take definitive action. If the loved one refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and resists seeking help, make them aware that whilst you still offer support in helping them find the professional help they need you will no longer continue to make special accommodations for their OCD behavior.

DON'T: Forget you play an important role in the recovery of the OCDer. They will need your help and support if they are to benefit from any treatment. Don't forget each Partner, parent, family member or friend can help the individual with OCD by reinforcing GOOD behaviors and helping them resist inappropriate one's.

DON'T:Be embarrassed by the nature of the illness. Millions of people suffer silently because of this. It is healthy to be open and confident when describing to others the symptoms of the illness, especially in front of the sufferer. Let them see there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

DON'T: Give up on the sufferer. OCD is a very difficult illness for anyone to understand, and it can be hard for a partner or family member to know how best to behave with the individual. Educate yourself so that you are better equipped with that knowledge.

DON'T:Forget yourself! Take time out to look after yourself too. Develop interests and hobbies for your own relaxation periods. Be aware that OCD is stressful for you and family members as well as the sufferer.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 5). OCD Do's and Dont's, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Last Updated: January 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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