Overcoming Obstacles to OCD Treatment
As I mentioned on Why does “evidence-based” treatment for OCD matter to you?, there are many initiatives on the national and local level to help eradicate the obstacles to OCD treatment. Here’s a sampling of the work underway.
Reducing shame and fear of stigma
The IOCDF and local affiliates, such as OCD Georgia, do national and local programming and educational events to help people understand that OCD is nothing to be ashamed of. In addition, through Beyond the Doubt, Jeff Bell and I do outreach about mental illness to raise awareness of mental health issues and to help people find appropriate treatment.
About 1 in 100 people have OCD. Think about that—you pass hundreds, even thousands of people, on your way to work or school each day, and odds are that 1 of every hundred has OCD. Just like asthma or allergies, it affects thousands of people from all walks of life. Just like asthma or allergies, you can’t help that you have it, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Many people suffering from OCD have been willing to publicly share their stories through the IOCDF and affiliates and through The Adversity to Advocacy Alliance to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. In fact, I will be telling the story of my triumph over my own OCD, called “Is Fred in the Refrigerator?” at the IOCDF conference in Atlanta this year.
Increasing awareness of OCD
The work of the IOCDF and the affiliates has been and will continue to be instrumental in helping to raise awareness of OCD (including what it is and what it is not) and its appropriate treatment.
Helping people afford treatment
Some treatment providers offer sliding scale spots for people who have limited financial means for treatment. Some practices or clinics offer interns who are in training in ERP at a lower per session fee. Dr. Reid Wilson of The Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center of Durham and Chapel Hill offers OCD Weekend Treatment Groups, and I will soon be providing these treatment groups as well. The Anxiety Disorders Foundation also offers treatment scholarships.
Training health professionals
Again, the IOCDF is working through its Behavior Therapy Training Institute and its annual conferences to train as many therapists as possible in the research-based treatment for OCD and to raise awareness in the general health practitioner community about OCD and its appropriate treatment. There are also online courses to train professionals in the evidence-based approaches to helping people with OCD and anxiety disorders.
How can I help with these challenges?
If you or someone you love has OCD:
- Become a member of the International OCD Foundation. Memberships support the important programs of the Foundation that help every day to reduce the challenges above for people suffering from OCD.
- Attend the 2017 IOCDF annual conference in San Francisco.
- Get the right help. And don’t ever give up hope. Because you can take your life back from OCD.