Advice for OCD sufferer: Someone I know has been... - OCD Support

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Advice for OCD sufferer

haven24 profile image
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Someone I know has been suffering with OCD for the past couple of years and has had a few different 'episodes' which now seem to be getting worse. The latest one involves him having an intrusive thought about exposing himself to a child whilst out on a walk. The next day, the OCD kicked in and 9 weeks later he's still ruminating about whether it actually happened or not and it's making him very distressed, he's constantly checking the news and crime figures for the area, asking me whether he would have been caught by now, and walking past the area.

He's currently on a low dose of Sertraline and waiting for an appointment with a therapist (this should happen within the next 6 weeks) but I was wondering if anyone had any useful tips on how to handle the situation and what is the best way for him to think about the situation. Should he be trying to break the cycle by not constantly checking the news etc and how should he be thinking. He tells me it's on a 24hr loop in his head. Should he be trying to stop the thoughts or letting them in? I don't know how best to advise him.

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Bunchy180 profile image

HiIt is so kind that you are looking out to your friend.

Ocd is awful, my daughter has suffered since the age of 8/9, came, went away and then back with vengeance!!!!!

Everyone has these thoughts but are able to let them go or sometimes we don’t even know that we have had them because they just move on and don’t get stuck.

The part of your friends brain that causes ocd, gets stuck and obsesses on those thoughts.

He is best to let them in , not to ask or look for reassurance, not avoid children or the things that ocd latches onto as this helps the ocd grow.

It is very hard, my 14 year old is on sertraline and has had the dosage increased gradually from 25 mg last July to 125mg, the difference is amazing, it does take time to work and it doesn’t stop them it just dull them and then your friend will have to do ERP to really help.

I wish both of you the best of luck and he is very lucky to have you, all you can do is be understanding and supportive, not too pushy but help him sit with the anxiety feeling . People with ocd never act on their thoughts !

My daughter wouldn’t move from one place last year incase she touched something, we are not hugging yet but she goes for walks is working her way back to school with short visits and going in the car, meeting her friends. It takes hard work,’patience and understanding . Take care and I am sorry for any typos am typing on my phone!

haven24 profile image
haven24 in reply to Bunchy180


Thanks so much for getting back to me. I'm glad you're daughter is making progress and hope it continues. It's nice to know that there is hope for his OCD, sometimes he says he can't see himself ever being happy again.

I can see it's so distressing for him and he's suffering from a lot of anxiety. I'm not sure if it's the OCD making him anxious or the other way around?

He keeps playing the scenario over and over in his head.

I think he needs to get a higher dose of his Sertraline but he's reluctant, he's only on a low dose. I think that would help with the anxiety part, even if it doesn't help the OCD. It's so frustrating!

Thanks again for taking the time to reply. It means a lot.

Sallyskins profile image

Sertraline is a good medication, but for OCD it often needs high doses. So I suggest that your friend consider upping the dose. I'm on sertraline myself, 300 mg a day, which is a very high dose, and not normally prescribed. The maximum dose is usually 200 mg.

He certainly should break the cycle by not checking the news! Having OCD is a constant search for reassurance, and when you are reassured, you still are satisfied - or rather the OCD isn't satisfied!

The episode your friend has described is called 'false memory'. A thought sticks to the inside of your head which with most people would simply float away. Then it torments you to the point where you think it might not just be a thought, that it might actually have happened.

Most of us have weird thoughts. I'm not a man, and I haven't actually asked this of any man, but it would surprise me if your friend's experience isn't a common one: 'Suppose I flashed at a kid?' But for most men, this thought would immediately go away.

I know all about the 24 hour loop in one's head! Try not to reassure him. Sufferers of OCD often rope in friends and family, asking for constant reassurance. It's difficult to know how to respond, and it's important to remain sympathetic, but OCD is a devouring animal that likes to be fed. And the more reassurance you feed it, the more it wants!

If he can just let the thoughts be, allow them in without checking or resisting, then the OCD will get fed up and leave him alone.

He might benefit from a self help book. It can get him started on the road to recovery by introducing him to CBT techniques and supplement the work with the therapist. There are many on the market, but I've been helped by Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and The OCD Workbook, which has a very useful section for friends and family members.

haven24 profile image
haven24 in reply to Sallyskins


Thanks for all the information and useful tips. I do think he needs to up his medication but he's reluctant, I'm not really sure why.

He's been watching a few self help videos on Youtube and he's now got the OCD workbook so at least we have a better understanding of what is actually happening. I think he's trying not to do the compulsions but is finding it very hard to begin with. I'm also trying not to reassurance him as you mentioned. It's a difficult thing to do, when does encouragement & understanding become reassurance? I can't always tell.

Hopefully it won't be too long before he gets to see a therapist.

Thanks again!

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