Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be difficult. A person who suffers from this condition can’t explain why they have to do certain things repeatedly or why their behavior is like that. The way they act may be irritating to others, but for them, it’s debilitating and sometimes even frustrating.

Imagine having to turn off and on a light switch ten times or more only because your mind can’t convince itself that you have already turned it off the first time. People with this condition struggle every day, trying to act normal. Hence, it’s your responsibility as their friend to help them manage their OCD. If you don’t know what to do, you could either accompany your friend to a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) center in Westport or follow the suggestions below:

Research OCD

There is much online literature on OCD, so you’ll have many references to understand further why people with this condition act a certain way. You can find out the severity of OCD, which differs for every person. You can also find out what possible triggers there may be for every person, although it’s better not to assume what causes your friend’s OCD to kick in.

Talk to your friend about their condition

friend comforting another friend

Some people are hesitant to speak about their condition, while others are more open. If you want to know more about your friend’s OCD, try asking them without sounding like you’re doing an interview. Talk to them when their OCD is not active so that they are calmer and perhaps more willing to open up about their condition. But do not press them too hard; otherwise, they will feel that you’re just interested in how severe their condition is rather than truly being concerned about them.

Don’t tell them that you might have OCD, too

You might think that you’re supporting your friend with OCD by saying that you have similar quirks. But you’re actually making things worse. Having a persistent thought that you might not have turned off the stove at home is just normal worrying, but people with OCD have something worse.

A person with OCD often feels out of control of their compulsions. When they have to do a certain task repeatedly—not all OCD symptoms are actions done repeatedly—it’s a way of trying to block a negative thought. Also, telling a person with OCD that you might have it too would only make you look disingenuous to them.

Don’t assume that it’s easy to recognize OCD

If your friend doesn’t look disheveled, erratic, or anxious, don’t tell them that they don’t look like they have OCD. Symptoms of OCD are not as clear and obvious as one might think. Some people are quite adept at hiding their condition. Don’t assume that your friend is not suffering from OCD just because they don’t look like they are about to freak out every minute.

Don’t let their OCD get the best of them

If you notice your friend freaking out because their bottle of disinfectant is almost empty, don’t just let them freak out and run toward the nearest Walgreens to buy a bottle of hand sanitizer. Help them calm down.

Living with OCD can be difficult. But if you’re willing to help your friend and be by their side every step of the way, their ordeal won’t be as troublesome as ever.