Most experts agree that it is time to seek treatment for OCD when the disorder “interferes with your daily life.” While “interfering” can mean different things to different people, it is generally described as having obsessions and compulsions that take up more than an hour a day of your time.
While a lot has been written about recovery avoidance in OCD, what I’m talking about here are the cases of OCD that are not so severe. Many sufferers and their families will avoid even discussing treatment because it appears that the situation is just not “that bad.” Of course, because OCD sufferers can be so good at hiding their symptoms, they are often the only ones who know the real extent of their disorder.
To me, before things get “that bad” is a perfect time to seek treatment and get started on Exposure Response Prevention Therapy. The less entrenched OCD is, the easier therapy will be. OCD will not go away on its own, and the longer treatment is delayed, the more time OCD will have to latch on to its victim, making recovery even more difficult in the future. Remember that OCD is an insidious disorder that does whatever it can to undermine the sufferer’s desire to get well.
The decision to seek treatment for OCD is sometimes shrouded by fear, shame, and embarrassment, and it may just seem “easier” all around to ignore what is going on. I believe this is a huge mistake. If you suspect you have OCD, are concerned about a loved one, or aren’t really sure what’s going on, please make the effort to find a therapist who specializes in this disorder. The sooner the better, because it might not take long for “I can handle this” to turn into OCD calling all the shots.