Getting caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions (OCD) is a mental health issue that manifests in various ways. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual categorizes obsessive compulsion, body dysmorphia, hoarding, trichotillomania (hair pulling), excoriation (skin picking), and obsessive compulsion due to a medical condition as obsessive compulsion-related mental health conditions. Obsessive compulsion in its various diagnosed forms affects approximately 1.2% of the American population, though many more experience symptoms. Females tend to experience it at higher rates than males in adulthood, whereas males tend to experience it more commonly in childhood.
Obsessions are thoughts, mental images, or impulses that occur repetitively and often against a person’s will. Compulsions are the behaviors a person acts on to neutralize or diminish the intensity of an obsession. Depending on the severity of symptoms, OCD and related issues can impact the quality of a person’s life and impair them socially and occupationally. Additionally, many pop culture examples of OCD contribute to a significant misconception of how debilitating OCD can be for someone who experiences it. While it is true many people will experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, many will not experience them severely and frequently enough to negatively impact relationships and daily life.
For those experiencing OCD or related mental health conditions, the good news is many therapeutic treatments exist and many experts who treat OCD are available to help. Because untreated OCD can lead to personal and professional dysfunction, finding a mental health professional with experience treating OCD and related conditions can be beneficial for those coping with the condition. Additionally, many online resources can help those affected and their family and friends better understand OCD and reduce stigma. GoodTherapy.org has compiled a list of 10 great online resources—excluding GoodTherapy.org—for obsessive compulsion. Some websites were suggested by our readers, and results were finalized based on site quality, content, and functionality.
- Stanford School of Medicine: Stanford University’s School of Medicine has an entire section of its website devoted to educational resources about obsessive compulsion and related conditions. The school’s stated goal with this section of its site is to “improve the diagnosis and treatment of obsessive-compulsive and related clinical problems in adults.” In addition to reading through credible information, visitors to the website can donate to research studies and learn more about efforts to understand OCD and treat it more effectively.
- Intrusive Thoughts: Inspired by people who shared their experiences with OCD through online platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, the team at Intrusive Thoughts created the website to celebrate bravery, humanize the symptoms of OCD, and help people find effective treatment options.
- Peace of Mind Foundation: This nonprofit organization was created to improve the quality of life both for people who experience OCD and their caregivers. The team behind Peace of Mind works toward this mission through education, research, support, and advocacy. In addition to offering training for professionals and caregivers, the Peace of Mind Foundation also provides treatment subsidies for those living with OCD.
- The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors: To help affected individuals overcome and heal from conditions such as trichotillomania, skin picking, and other body-focused repetitive behaviors, the TLC Foundation works to end isolation by providing a supportive community, offering information on treatment resources, conducting outreach and training, and funding research projects.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation: Many who experience body dysmorphia describe their primary symptom as a debilitating preoccupation with a flawed appearance. This condition can lead a person to seek cosmetic surgery, feel low self-esteem, and can affect social functioning. Originally created to be an online hub of body dysmorphia information, the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation shifted its focus and was registered as a charity in 2013. It’s also still a great site to learn about body dysmorphia.
- Beyond OCD: Founded in 1994, Beyond OCD is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of those living with OCD. The site provides educational resources to a wide range of audiences, including clergy, parents, teens, school employees, and the media.
- International OCD Foundation: In addition to helping people learn about their experiences with OCD, where to look for effective treatment options, and what they can do to help people with OCD live rich, full lives, the International OCD Foundation is dedicated to increasing access to treatment and eliminating OCD stigma.
- OCDtalk: Created by a mother who experienced severe obsessive compulsion, OCDtalk is primarily a blog that discusses OCD treatments, such as exposure and response prevention, and advocates for better OCD awareness. It has an archive of the site’s top posts and all posts going back to 2010.
- Help for Hoarders: Hoarding, a highly stigmatized obsessive compulsive-related condition, is estimated to affect 2%-6% of the U.S. and European populations. This site, based in the United Kingdom, was created by Jasmine Harman as a way to build a supportive online community of people who provide one another hope and understanding. In addition to connecting with others, the site provides many self-help resources and a place to share experiences with hoarding behavior.
- OCD Action: Another U.K.-based website, OCD Action advocates for better OCD diagnosis and treatment, offers support and resources for those experiencing OCD and related conditions, and provides an online community where people can ask for help without shame. Support is readily available on the site’s homepage, and site visitors can get involved on its forums, share personal stories, and celebrate achievements while being treated for OCD.
Don’t see your favorite website listed in our Top 10? Recommend it here.
Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
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