Reviewed by Lauren Guilbeault
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that impacts 2.3% of the adult population and about 1% of children in the United States. Someone with OCD may experience obsessions, compulsions, intrusive thoughts or mental images, and other symptoms that can be debilitating. The good news is that obsessive-compulsive disorder is a highly treatable condition. Various forms of treatment can be used for OCD, but one of the most frequently used therapies is called Exposure And Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, which is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Peer support can be incredibly helpful for those with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or other mental health conditions, and forums are one way to find it. Here is a list of online OCD forums that you can turn to for support and understanding from others who are going through the same thing.
OCD Forum List
The International OCD foundation or IOCDF made a blog post in 2018 announcing their new community forum called the Health Unlocked forum. The International OCD Foundation or IOCDF is dedicated to helping people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, so this forum is an excellent community resource for peer support online. Click here to visit the Health Unlocked forum.
What Forums Can And Can’t Do
An OCD help forum, OCD forum, or OCD message board are all great ways to find peer support. They can help you to feel less alone, and meeting other people who are dealing with the same thing can be both cathartic and relieving, especially if you face misunderstanding from others or shame of any kind. There’s no need to be ashamed of having OCD and finding other people who know what it’s like can be life-changing. What an OCD forum can’t do, however, is replace OCD treatment from a medical or mental health professional. If you’re struggling with your symptoms, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional such as a counselor or therapist. If you have yet to be diagnosed and believe that you might have OCD, it’s very important to see a medical doctor who is able to diagnose mental disorders, such as a primary care provider or a psychiatrist.
If you’re interested in other forms of peer support that are not mental health message boards or forums, you may consider attending a support group online or in person. Support groups are not the same as group therapy or individual counseling, but they can be beneficial.
Understanding An OCD Diagnosis
The DSM-V is the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. The criteria for OCD listed in the DSM-5 is what’s currently used to diagnose obsessive-compulsive disorder. To be diagnosed with OCD, the DSM-V states that you must experience obsessions, compulsions, or both. Here is how the DSM-V defines obsessions and compulsions in OCD:
“Obsessions are defined by (1) and (2):
- Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive, unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress.
- The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion).
Compulsions are defined by (1) and (2):
- Repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to the rules that must be applied rigidly.
- The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation. However, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive.
The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming (e.g., take more than 1 hour per day) or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., excessive worries, as in generalized anxiety disorder; preoccupation with appearance, as in body dysmorphic disorder; difficulty discarding or parting with possession, as in hoarding disorder; hair pulling, as in trichotillomania [hair-pulling disorder]; skin picking, as in excoriation [skin-picking] disorder); stereotypies, as in stereotypic movement disorder; ritualized eating behavior, as in eating disorders; preoccupation with substances or gambling, as in substance-related and addictive disorders; sexual urges or fantasies, as in paraphilic disorders; impulses, as in disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders; guilty ruminations, as in major depressive disorder; thought insertion or delusional preoccupations, as in schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; or repetitive patterns of behavior, as in autism spectrum disorder).”
You can view the full current diagnostic criteria for OCD as well as a comparison to the DSM-IV and DSM-V criteria of OCD here. The DSM is used by medical and mental health professionals to diagnose mental disorders. It’s not something that most people have on their bookshelf if they don’t work in the medical or mental health field, but understanding the criteria for an OCD diagnosis can help you to understand your diagnosis, especially if you were recently diagnosed or are having trouble understanding why you’re diagnosed with OCD. Note that there are a number of different subtypes of OCD. Understanding the subtypes might help you understand your diagnosis as well. For example, one may have contamination OCD, symmetry OCD with ordering compulsions, harm OCD with checking compulsions, relationship OCD, purely obsessive OCD, or another form of OCD. Although the media often depicts OCD as a disorder where the sufferer is obsessed with cleanliness, only about 25% of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder actually have contamination OCD with compulsions related to washing or cleanliness. No matter what OCD subtype you struggle with, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Again, this is a common condition, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Find Help For OCD
If you are diagnosed with OCD, you may benefit from therapy. As mentioned above, Exposure And Response Prevention therapy or ERP* is one of the most common and effective treatments used for obsessive-compulsive disorder. To find a therapist or counselor near you who works with those who have OCD, search the web for “OCD therapists near me,” “OCD counselors near me,” contact your doctor and ask for a referral, contact your insurance company or visit their website to see who they cover, or consider using a provider search tool such as the one on the upper right-hand corner of the Mind Diagnostics website. You may also consider using an online therapy website, which can help you get paired with a licensed mental health provider.
Take The Mind Diagnostics OCD Test
Do you think that you might have obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics OCD test. Although OCD can impact people of all ages, the Mind Diagnostics OCD test is for those aged 18 and older. The OCD test is not a replacement for a diagnosis, but it can give you insight into your symptoms, and taking the test might be the first step to getting the help that you need.
Click here to take the Mind Diagnostics OCD test.
*For all information regarding specific treatments, please consult a medical or mental health professional.