Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects approximately 2.2 million adults in the United States. If you live with OCD, you should know the condition is not a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of. It is a common health challenge affecting millions of others, including some of your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. If you struggle with intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, you don’t have to face the condition alone.
Taking the bold step to seek help can be a great way to understand what OCD is, including its triggers and how it manifests physically and emotionally. Professional help will also empower you with the right coping strategies so you can live a normal life again. However, fear of sharing our experiences and struggles with those around us can dissuade us from getting the help we need. If you fear the stigma associated with OCD, an OCD helpline provides confidential and non-judgmental support to put you on a solid path to recovery.
What Are OCD Crisis Hotlines?
OCD support hotlines are dedicated resources staffed by compassionate and knowledgeable professionals specializing in OCD and related conditions. These professionals have an in-depth understanding and experience of the disorder, including its complexities and impact on the individual’s overall quality of life. The helplines strictly comply with confidential protocols to keep your personal information and experiences private and secret.
Reasons to Use an OCD Support Hotline
Living with OCD can be an overwhelming and isolating experience. An OCD helpline offers 24/7 support in a caring and compassionate environment. If you fear being judged or misunderstood for your conditions, here are some of the reasons to reach out using an OCD helpline:
- Knowledgeable and emphatic support: As mentioned earlier, OCD helplines are managed by trained professionals with a deep understanding of your disorder. These compassionate and caring professionals have dedicated their lives to helping mental illness patients. Since they understand the complexities of your condition, they will readily offer a safe space to discuss your concerns, fears and struggles without any stigma or judgment.
- Emotional validation and understanding: Living with OCD may easily give rise to feelings of shame, guilt and confusion. It is easy to question the validity of your experiences and doubt whether those close to you truly understand your struggles. An OCD helpline offers emotional validation that reassures you are never alone in your struggles. Helpline staff will offer a listening ear, empathize with your experiences and validate your concerns.
- Tailored coping strategies and resources: OCD phone helpline staff offer more than just a listening, compassionate ear. The professionals leverage their skills to provide practical tools and coping strategies tailored to your immediate needs. They will help you with effective and healthy ways to manage your symptoms and regain control over your life. The counselors may also connect you with valuable resources in your locality, like self-help materials, therapy recommendations and referrals to local support groups.
OCD Emergency Hotlines and Resources
The following are some of the emergency hotlines to contact when faced with a crisis related to your condition:
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The NIMH is a federal agency supporting various mental disorders, including OCD. They mostly offer information to guide individuals through treatment processes. Reach out through:
- Phone (toll-free): (866) 615-6464
- TTY (toll-free): (866) 415-8051 – English and Español
- Online chat
- International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)
IOCDF is a donor-supported nonprofit organization providing resources and support for those with OCD and related conditions. The organization promotes awareness about OCD. Reach out through:
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
ADAA focuses on offering general information on anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD. It is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people find treatment and support. Reach out through:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA provides resources that support those struggling with various mental health issues. To find help in a location near you, simply:
- Log into: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- Call: 1-800-662-4357.
- Log into: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI offers tailored resources and support for people with OCD and their families. Contact NAMI through:
- 1-800-950-6264 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line offers support through text messaging available 24/7. To get connected to a live counselor, you simply send a text message to741741.
What Is OCD?
OCD is a common disorder featuring unwanted thoughts and fear (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors or compulsions. The obsessions and compulsions can interfere with your daily activities leading to anxiety and distress. A person may try to ignore or stop their obsessions, but this will only increase distress, ultimately driving them to perform compulsive acts to try and ease their stress. OCD is often characterized by ritualistic behaviors. For example, the fear of getting contaminated by germs can make one compulsively wash their hands until they are sore or chapped.
Causes of OCD
To date, no one knows the specific cause of OCD. However, there are several theories about how OCD develops, although none can explain each person’s experience. Researchers suggest the following as the likely causes:
- Painful childhood experiences, including trauma, abuse or bullying
- Ongoing anxiety or stress
- Pregnancy and giving birth (perinatal OCD)
- Genetical factors
Is OCD Treatable?
OCD can be treated successfully. There are two main types of treatment for OCD:
- Talking therapy: therapy treatment like CBT can help you face your fears and obsessive thoughts without turning them into compulsions
- Medicine: a type of antidepressant medicine can help alter the balance of chemicals in your brain.
Help Is Available
It is understandable if you feel embarrassed about your condition. However, OCD can be treated successfully so you lead a normal life once again. Reaching out for help is a courageous first step toward recovery. The OCD helplines we shared provide a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space where you can share your struggles, receive emotional validation and access professional guidance and resources. If you need immediate help, the National Mental Health Hotline is an excellent place to start. Call 866-903-3787 now.