Most everyone is familiar with OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder. There are several sub categories of behaviors that fall under this umbrella term, but they all share the common feature of the person with OCD having intrusive thought patterns that cause them to behave in ritualistic ways, sometimes to the point of being very disruptive to their daily lives. If you have a loved one who is living with this pattern of behavior, there are some things that you can do to be supportive to them as they deal with the effects of their disorder.
The first thing you can do is to educated yourself about the condition. Knowing more about the situation they are dealing with inside their own minds can give you compassion and patience. Their outward behaviors are not choices they are making. If you are getting frustrated due to the fact that the person is taking too long to get ready to leave the house, due to their checking and re-checking of household details, it helps to keep that in mind.
Remaining calm is one thing that can be helpful when you are interacting with the person who has OCD. If you are able to talk to them about the behaviors or the thoughts, do so in a non-judgemental manner and with an open-mindedness that will help to put them at ease. Letting them know that you are aware of their struggle and that there is help available if they were to choose it is another way to be of support.
It is also important not to help them perform their rituals, it may seem as if it would be supportive to participate in their behaviors, but it just reinforces that pattern for them and is not helpful in making changes. Along the same lines, it is not productive to be critical toward them for their behaviors either. Causing them to become defensive or to feel attacked will not be helpful.
Remain calm and always be as patient as possible with the person who has OCD, this sort of atmosphere along with gentle praise and recognition for them when they are attempting to resist their urges to perform the rituals are all ways to be of help.
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