What should be included in patient education about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Updated: May 17, 2018
  • Author: William M Greenberg, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Education about the nature and treatment of OCD is essential. As with many psychiatric disorders, patients and their families often have misconceptions about the illness and its management. Information should be provided about the neuropsychiatric source of the symptoms, as opposed to having families unnecessarily blame themselves for causing the disorder.

A helpful book on OCD, written for the general public, is Dr Judith Rapoport's The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing, [29] which discusses the recognition of OCD in individuals and the identification of effective treatments for the disease.

Patients and their families should be provided with information on support groups and should have opportunities to discuss the impact the illness has had on their self-experience and on their relationships.

The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation is a self-help and family organization founded in 1986 that offers information and resources regarding OCD and related disorders (including contact information for various types of affiliated support groups, contact information listing psychiatrists and therapists who are experienced in the treatment of OCD, research opportunities, and book reviews).

Some other organizations offer more specialized resources, (eg, the San Francisco Bay Area Internet Guide for Extreme Hoarding Behavior, the Madison Institute of Medicine's Obsessive Compulsive Information Center, which provides information and a monthly newsletter for individuals with OCD symptoms of scrupulosity about religious/moral issues).

A more complete listing of OCD resources appears as an appendix in the APA Practice Guideline for OCD. [30]

Several self-help books are also available, including Dr Edna Foa and Dr Reid Wilson's book, [31] which can add CBT-style self-treatment to the educational experience they provide.

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