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
About 1 in 100 people have OCD. You pass hundreds, even thousands of people, on your way to work or school each day, and odds are that you’re passing by other people who have OCD. Just like asthma or allergies, OCD affects millions of people from all walks of life. And just like asthma or allergies, you can’t help that you have it, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Organizations such as the IOCDF and their local affiliates and OCD Gamechangers do national and educational events to help people learn about OCD, meet others who have the disorders, find treatment, and recognize that you can live a joyful life, even with the disorder.
I feel so strongly about reducing the shame and stigma around having OCD that I wrote a book sharing my OCD story: Is Fred in the Refrigerator? Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life.
Increasing awareness of OCD
The work of the IOCDF, its affiliates, and OCD Gamechangers has been and will continue to be instrumental in helping to raise awareness of OCD (including what it is and what it is not, as I addressed in OCD is Not What You Think) 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 also offers cost-effective OCD Weekend Treatment Groups.
Training health professionals
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 for people suffering from OCD.
- Attend the annual IOCDF conference. More than 2,000 people have attended each of the last several conferences, and it’s a fabulous place to meet others with the disorder, learn about treatment (or even get treatment, as Dr. Reid Wilson offers 2-day OCD treatment groups immediately before and after the conference each year), and recognize that you can live a great life, even if you have OCD.
- Get the right help. Don’t ever give up hope, because you can take your life back from OCD!