Reviewed by Dawn Brown, LPC, NCC
Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a common mental health condition that can impact people of all ages, including children, teens, and adults. It’s said that 2.3% of the United States population aged 18 and above has obsessive-compulsive disorder (that’s about 1 out of every 40 adults) and 1% (one out of every 100) of children live with OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be incredibly debilitating, but the good news is that it’s a highly treatable condition. Many celebrities, including Fiona Apple, Daniel Radcliffe, Howie Mandell, and Neil Hilborn have opened up about having obsessive-compulsive disorder and how it impacts them. If you have OCD, support groups may be able to supplement your treatment and help you find a sense of understanding. Read on to learn more about OCD and how to find support groups near you or online, as well as other forms of support.
About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a mental health disorder that is characterized and diagnosed based on the occurrence of obsessions and compulsions. There are different subtypes of OCD, which include but are not limited to contamination OCD, symmetry OCD with ordering obsessions, harm OCD with checking compulsions, Relationship OCD, and OCD with obsessions but no visible compulsions. Contamination OCD (an obsession with contamination with washing/cleaning compulsions) is one of the most commonly spoken about types of OCD, but only about 25% of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have OCD that surrounds contamination fears. The reality is that OCD can affect people and manifest in many different ways. No matter what subtype of OCD you struggle with, a support group may be beneficial to you. Support groups should be judgment-free zones, and attending a support group is an excellent way to feel less alone.
How To Find OCD Support Groups Near You
One of the best ways to find an OCD support group in your local area is to search the web for “OCD support groups near me.” The International OCD Foundation also has a comprehensive and extensive number of resources, including a tool that helps you to find support groups. All that you have to do is put in your zip code and select the service you’re looking for. You’d be surprised what you can find – depending on where you live, there’s everything from OCD support groups for elders to support groups for skin picking (a condition that’s similar to OCD) to support groups for parents to support groups to OCD and related disorder support groups that welcome all. Another option is to look into obsessive-compulsive anonymous meetings, which meet both in-person in various regions and remotely and are set up similarly to alcoholics anonymous meetings. OCD anonymous meetings can be found on their website here.
Support groups are generally very welcoming environments. Every support group will have a different set of rules or guidelines. If possible, always learn about the specific support group you’re going to prior to attending.
How To Find An OCD Support Group Online
Online support groups are beneficial to a ton of people, and they may be preferable for a number of reasons. They’re a great option for those in remote areas without support groups that meet nearby, for example. The International OCD Foundation has a page that lists a comprehensive set of online and phone-based support groups. Some of the support groups that you’ll find on the page are OCD support groups for people who have it, OCD support groups for family members or parents of a loved one with OCD, and more. If you scroll down to the “general support” section on the web page, you’ll find a number of easily accessible online groups that you can start using immediately. You can also use a website like support.therapytribe.com that has a variety of support groups, including one created for OCD.
Whether you attend a support group in person or online, know that if the first one doesn’t seem to be a good fit, you can always switch or try a new group. The good news about support groups is that they’re often free or very affordable.
OCD group therapy vs. OCD support groups
Many people wonder how group therapy differs from a support group. The answer is that group therapy is always led by a licensed professional counselor, therapist, or another professional, where support groups don’t have to be. Support groups may be led by a professional, but many are community-led. Another difference is that group therapy is a form of treatment, and as a result, it’s more structured than support groups are. The purpose of support groups is predominantly finding peer support and understanding, where group therapy is a form of therapy that meets in a group setting. Note that you can always look into a person who runs a support group if you’re concerned or if you prefer to attend a support group that’s led by a professional.
Other Types of Support for OCD
Here are some other ways to get support for OCD.
Online forums are similar to online support groups in the sense that they are fully online and can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. Some popular forums for obsessive-compulsive disorder include:
The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Forum on mentalhealthforum.net, a website with forums for a wide variety of mental health conditions.
The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Forum on psychforums.com.
The IOCDF (International OCD Foundation) online support forum.
There are also chat rooms like those on healthfulchat.org.
Individual Counseling For OCD
Individual counseling is an excellent way to get treatment and support for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT and exposure and response prevention (ERP),* which is a CBT strategy or adaptation, are well-known and well-researched treatments for the disorder, and they can be incredibly helpful for people who live with OCD. ERP is the first line of treatment for OCD. Acceptance and commitment therapy or ACT is another option. To find a counselor or therapist, search the web for “OCD therapist near me,” “OCD counselor near me,” or look for a counselor or therapist through an online therapy website. Another popular way to find individual counseling or therapy is to ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor or therapist, contact your insurance company or check their website to see who they cover, or use an online directory or provider search tool such as the one on the Mind Diagnostics website. You can find the provider search tool on the Mind Diagnostics website by looking at the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
Group Therapy For OCD
As mentioned above, group therapy differs from support groups or forums in the sense that group therapy is always conducted by a licensed mental health provider. To find group therapy for OCD in your area, you can search the web for “OCD group therapy near me,” ask for a recommendation from a medical or mental health provider, or see what your insurance company covers. Some community centers or local OCD centers may have group therapy options or information about group therapy options for OCD. You can attend group therapy (and/or a support group) in conjunction with individual counseling if you choose. If you learn well in group environments, group therapy might be for you. Like individual counseling, group therapy can be conducted both in-person and online.
Getting Diagnosed With OCD
If you think that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder but have yet to be diagnosed, you might wonder what the process of getting diagnosed is like and how it works. Often, the first step to getting diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder is to see your primary care provider or a psychiatrist. A mental health provider such as a psychiatrist will give you an evaluation and will diagnose you based on your symptoms. Getting diagnosed with OCD is a non-invasive process, and it’s not as scary as it may seem. In fact, many find that getting the correct diagnosis is a relief. Some support groups require a diagnosis, but many don’t. Again, it’s important to check with the specific support group you’re interested in to find out about their rules, guidelines, and practices. Learning about OCD can be helpful for those who are newly diagnosed or who are looking into receiving a diagnosis.
Take The Mind Diagnostics OCD Test
Do you think that you could have obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test. The Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test is not a replacement for a diagnosis or evaluation from a medical or mental health professional, but taking it can give you insight into your symptoms, and it might just be the first step to getting the help and support you need. Although OCD can impact people of all ages, the Mind Diagnostics OCD test is for those aged 18 and above. It is fast, free, and confidential.
Click here to take the Mind Diagnostics OCD test.
*For all information and advice regarding specific treatments and individual medical or mental health advice, please contact a medical or mental health provider.