My grown son has OCD… Help!

What to do when you’re not sure how to deal with the diagnosis? Our elder admits it’s a stressful situation for both mom and son—and offers ideas for finding the support you need.

Dear EWC:

Hi, I’m a 42-year-old single mother, and I have a 20-year-old son who has been diagnosed with OCD. I have difficulty with how to handle his compulsive behaviour. I have never been a strict parent, and he is not an unruly boy, but of late his compulsive behaviour has changed him as a person in many ways.

I am finding it difficult to handle it because I am scared of saying the wrong things, which I’m afraid, would put him in a deeper place. I want to have a chat with him about this but I don’t know how to start. I need help.

June-Bug replies:

Dealing with a son with OCD must be quite a challenge. I’m sure it’s a helpless feeling to watch his compulsive behavior and see how it is changing him. Kudos to you for wanting to learn how to help him without saying or doing “the wrong thing.” It shows you are a caring parent. In addition to getting help for him, I encourage you to reach out for help for yourself. You are in a highly stressful situation and you need to take care of yourself as well.

Bottom line, your son may need professional treatment, possibly including medication. I urge you to help him find professional treatment. Contact the medical professional who provided the OCD diagnosis for referrals to care and resources in your area–a therapist for him and a parent support group for you. A support group will help you to learn how others are coping with the disease in their families. There is also great value in you sharing your experiences with the group and getting feedback. A support group will help you feel less helpless, isolated, and alone.

I found the following articles that might be helpful to you:
Even though I realize your son is no longer a child, this article from Kids Health is informative:

This article provides tips for an individual coping with OCD:
I hope that you will find this information helpful. I think the key is for you to remain supportive, loving, and patient with your son. As long as you do that, you won’t say the wrong thing. Listen to him and make sure he feels heard. What he’s going through is extremely difficult. Don’t try to provide any solutions. Just listen with a caring heart. All the best.


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