Tips For Living With Someone With OCD And Anger

Living with a loved one with OCD can be challenging for friends and family. One of the most important things you can do for them is to provide them with a loving and supportive environment. Another important thing you can do is to give them practical support with everyday tasks, like getting dressed, cooking, and cleaning.

Doing so will show them that you care and understand them, which is the first step in helping them overcome OCD.

Have you considered clinical trials for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness in which individuals experience recurring, intrusive thoughts or behaviors they cannot control.

According to a report¹ by the Anxiety and Depression  Association of America (ADAA), more than 2.5 million adults have OCD in the United States.

These individuals often experience severe anxiety and fear. They may obsess over thoughts of harming themselves or getting contaminated or fear being unable to control their thoughts or actions. These obsessions and compulsions can interfere with daily life and relationships.

Most of the time, people with OCD  feel ashamed and embarrassed about their symptoms, making it even harder to cope.

How does OCD affect family relationships?

Research² shows that genetics play a key role in determining whether a  family member may develop OCD.  If a parent or sibling has OCD, there's a 25% risk that an immediate family member will also have it.

OCD often affects relationships within the family and can cause great distress. The disorder can disrupt families by making it difficult for people with OCD to have normal conversations, share information, or make decisions.

As a family member of an OCD patient, you may feel like you're constantly struggling to understand your loved one. By engaging with this post, you're taking the first step to educating yourself on the disorder to help them.

Ways you can offer support to loved ones with OCD

Provide them with a safe space to open up

Encourage them to share their thoughts with you. It might be difficult for them to do this at first, as it takes a certain degree of vulnerability, so be patient. If they're not ready to talk, don't pressure them but let them know they can come to you when ready.

Educate yourself on OCD

It's challenging to understand OCD if you don't know what it is and how it affects those who suffer from it. Learn about OCD symptoms, triggers, and coping mechanisms so that you can empathize with the struggles of those who must cope with this disorder. You can do this by:

  • Reading online journals and articles 

  • Watching OCD-related videos on YouTube 

  • Listening to podcasts of people living with OCD

By learning more about the condition, you'll be in a better position to understand and support your loved one who has OCD.

Encourage them to speak to an OCD specialist

Many OCD patients shy away from seeking professional help because of the stigma associated with the condition. However, dealing with OCD without expert assistance can be very difficult.

Reassure your loved one that you're all in this together. Offer to accompany them to their first therapy session. They'll feel less alone and acquire the confidence to face the disorder head-on. Encourage your loved one to try online therapy sessions if availability and time constraints limit face-to-face sessions.

Online therapy is more flexible and provides similar benefits to in-person sessions.

What shouldn't you say to a loved one with OCD?

Knowing what to say or do when a loved one struggles with OCD can be difficult. It's important to respect their needs and not burden them with unnecessary advice or conversations. Here are six things you should never say when living with or supporting someone with OCD and anger.

  1. "It's not that serious."

  2. "Relax and just ignore it."

  3. "You don't look like you have OCD."

  4. "It's all in your head."

  5. "Isn't therapy helping?"

  6. "Stop being dramatic."

The key is to be supportive and understanding. As long as you're compassionate, you are on the right path.

Taking care of yourself when your partner has OCD

Spend some time apart from your partner

This might seem harsh, but you shouldn't devote every free second to your partner. You're human, so the company and support from other people are important in maintaining your own emotional health. Don't isolate yourself and cancel plans with friends and family to stay in with your OCD partner. You'll be unhappy when you do this and might even resent your partner in the long run. 

Prioritize your mental health

If you've ever flown, you know that in an emergency, you should put on your oxygen mask before helping others. The same rule applies when caring for your OCD partner: you must first care for yourself. You might lose your patience and snap at them if you are constantly drained and don’t take time for self-care. So take some time to recharge and give yourself some love. Once your cup is full, you'll be in a position to pour love and support into them.

Don't be too hard on yourself

Remember that you are not a mental health professional, so don't put pressure on yourself to be able to manage OCD perfectly. You won't always have the answers or be in a position to fix your partner's problems, and that's okay. You are already doing your best for them, and that is enough.


What causes anger in OCD patients?

Research³ shows that about half of OCD patients experience anger attacks. Factors such as frustrations about their inability to manage their compulsive habits trigger the outbursts. They are also caused by medication side effects and interruptions of their compulsive rituals. 

What do anger episodes look like?

OCD patients express their rage in two ways: outwardly and inwardly. An outward anger episode occurs when they direct their anger at people or objects near them. They may yell at you or damage property around the house or office. Inward anger manifests when they engage in self-harm practices such as banging their heads on a wall or refusing to eat food. Whichever form your loved one's anger manifests, it's important to recognize the episodes and help them cope safely and healthily. 

Is OCD anger manageable?

Anger that stems from OCD  is quite manageable. In most scenarios,  the episodes decrease or completely vanish once the OCD is under control. If you're experiencing an anger episode, try a relaxation technique.  Some great ones include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and music therapy. When you combine these approaches with OCD treatment, you will better manage your anger episodes.

The lowdown

Understanding OCD and dealing with the disorder can help your loved one lead a more satisfying and productive life. Be supportive if you're living with someone with OCD and anger problems. Give them time and space to manage the OCD in their way. Remember to prioritize your mental health to avoid becoming exhausted and drained as you care for them.

  1. Anxiety disorders - Facts & statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder | National Alliance on Mental Illness

  3. Anger attacks in obsessive compulsive disorder (2011)

Have you considered clinical trials for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Discover which clinical trials you are eligible for

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