OCD Support Groups: Finding A Support Group Near You (2023)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a common mental health condition that can impact people of all ages, including children, teens, and adults. It’s said that 2.3% of the United States population aged 18 and above has obsessive-compulsive disorder (that’s about 1 out of every 40 adults) and 1% (one out of every 100) of children live with OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be incredibly debilitating, but the good news is that it’s a highly treatable condition. Many celebrities, including Fiona Apple, Daniel Radcliffe, Howie Mandell, and Neil Hilborn have opened up about having an obsessive-compulsive disorder and how it impacts them. If you have OCD, support groups may be able to supplement your treatment and help you find a sense of understanding. Read on to learn more about OCD and how to find support groups near you or online, as well as other forms of support.

About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a mental health disorder that is characterized and diagnosed based on the occurrence of obsessions and compulsions. There are different subtypes of OCD, which include but are not limited to contamination OCD, symmetry OCD with ordering obsessions, harm OCD with checking compulsions, Relationship OCD, and OCD with obsessions but no visible compulsions. Contamination OCD (an obsession with contamination with washing/cleaning compulsions) is one of the most commonly spoken about types of OCD, but only about 25% of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have OCD that surrounds contamination fears. The reality is that OCD can affect people and manifest in many different ways. No matter what subtype of OCD you struggle with, a support group may be beneficial to you. Support groups should be judgment-free zones, and attending a support group is an excellent way to feel less alone.

How To Find OCD Support Groups Near You

OCD Support Groups: Finding A Support Group Near You (1)

One of the best ways to find an OCD support group in your local area is to search the web for “OCD support groups near me.” The International OCD Foundation also has a comprehensive and extensive number of resources, including a tool that helps you to findsupport groups. All that you have to do is put in your zip code and select the service you’re looking for. You’d be surprised what you can find – depending on where you live, there’s everything from OCD support groups for elders to support groups for skin picking (a condition that’s similar to OCD) to support groups for parents to support groups for OCD and related disorder support groups that welcome all.

Support groups are generally very welcoming environments. Every support group will have a different set of rules or guidelines. If possible, always learn about the specific support group you’re going to before attending.

(Video) Aware Support Groups

How To Find An OCD Support Group Online

Online support groups are beneficial to a ton of people, and they may be preferable for several reasons. They’re a great option for those in remote areas without support groups that meet nearby, for example. The International OCD Foundation has a page that lists a comprehensive set of online and phone-based support groups. Some of the support groups that you’ll find on the page are OCD support groups for people who have it, OCD support groups for family members or parents of a loved one with OCD, and more. You can also use a website like support.therapytribe.com which has a variety of support groups, including one created for OCD.

Whether you attend a support group in person or online, know that if the first one doesn’t seem to be a good fit, you can always switch or try a new group. The good news about support groups is that they’re often free or very affordable.

OCD group therapy vs. OCD support groups

Many people wonder how group therapy differs from a support group. The answer is that group therapy is always led by a licensed professional counselor, therapist, or another professional, whereas support groups don’t have to be. Support groups may be led by a professional, but many are community-led. Another difference is that group therapy is a form of treatment, and as a result, it’s more structured than support groups are. The purpose of support groups is predominantly finding peer support and understanding, whereas group therapy is a form of therapy that meets in a group setting. Note that you can always look into a person who runs a support group if you’re concerned or if you prefer to attend a support group that’s led by a professional.

Other Types of Support for OCD

Here are some other ways to get support for OCD.

(Video) OCD Support Groups

Online Forums

OCD Support Groups: Finding A Support Group Near You (2)

Some popular forums for the obsessive-compulsive disorder include:

TheObsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Forum on mentalhealthforum.net, is a website with forums for a wide variety of mental health conditions.

TheObsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Forumon psychforums.com.

TheIOCDF(International OCD Foundation) online support forum.

There are also chat rooms like those onhealthfulchat.org.

(Video) Who should start an OCD support group and whom should you involve?

Individual Counseling For OCD

Individual counseling is an excellent way to get treatment and support for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT and exposure and response prevention (ERP),* which is a CBT strategy or adaptation, are well-known and well-researched treatments for the disorder, and they can be incredibly helpful for people who live with OCD. ERP is the first line of treatment for OCD. Acceptance and commitment therapy ACT is another option. To find a counselor or therapist, search the web for “OCD therapist near me,” “OCD counselor near me,” or look for a counselor or therapist through an online therapy website. Another popular way to find individual counseling or therapy is to ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor or therapist, contact your insurance company or check their website to see who they cover, or use an online directory or provider search tool such as the one on the Mind Diagnostics website. You can find the provider search tool on the Mind Diagnostics website by looking at the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

Group Therapy For OCD

OCD Support Groups: Finding A Support Group Near You (3)

As mentioned above, group therapy differs from support groups or forums in the sense that group therapy is always conducted by a licensed mental health provider. To find group therapy for OCD in your area, you can search the web for “OCD group therapy near me,” ask for a recommendation from a medical or mental health provider, or see what your insurance company covers. Some community centers or local OCD centers may have group therapy options or information about group therapy options for OCD. You can attend group therapy (and/or a support group) in conjunction with individual counseling if you choose. If you learn well in group environments, group therapy might be for you. Like individual counseling, group therapy can be conducted both in-person and online.

Getting Diagnosed With OCD

If you think that you have the obsessive-compulsive disorder but have yet to be diagnosed, you might wonder what the process of getting diagnosed is like and how it works. Often, the first step to getting diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder is to see your primary care provider or a psychiatrist. A mental health provider such as a psychiatrist will give you an evaluation and will diagnose you based on your symptoms. Getting diagnosed with OCD is a non-invasive process, and it’s not as scary as it may seem. Many find that getting the correct diagnosis is a relief. Some support groups require a diagnosis, but many don’t. Again, it’s important to check with the specific support group you’re interested in to find out about their rules, guidelines, and practices. Learning about OCD can be helpful for those who are newly diagnosed or who are looking into receiving a diagnosis.

(Video) How to Start an OCD Support Group

Take The Mind Diagnostics OCD Test

OCD Support Groups: Finding A Support Group Near You (4)

Do you think that you could have obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test. The Mind Diagnostics obsessive-compulsive disorder test is not a replacement for a diagnosis or evaluation from a medical or mental health professional, but taking it can give you insight into your symptoms, and it might just be the first step to getting the help and support you need. Although OCD can impact people of all ages, the Mind Diagnostics OCD test is for those aged 18 and above.

Click hereto take the Mind Diagnostics OCD test.

*For all information and advice regarding specific treatments and individual medical or mental health advice, please contact a medical or mental health provider.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are OCD support groups helpful?
What helps OCD go away?
What is the most successful treatment for OCD?
Is OCD permanently curable?
Is OCD a disorder or disease?
How do I cope with OCD?
What is the root cause of OCD?
What causes OCD to flare up?
Is OCD a disability?
How do I know if my OCD is severe?

(Video) Starting an OCD Support Group: How to pick the best time, frequency, and location


How do I find a support group in my area? ›

Your primary care physician or mental health professional is often the best place to start when looking for a local support group. You can also search for a local meeting via the websites of the various support groups.

Can support groups help with OCD? ›

OCD support groups

provide reassurance and coping advice. reduce feelings of isolation. offer a chance to socialise with others. provide information and advice for family members and friends.

Where can I get support for OCD? ›

There are 2 main ways to get help: refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service – find a psychological therapies service in your area. see a GP – they'll ask about your symptoms and can refer you to a local psychological therapies service if necessary.

What organizations help people with OCD? ›

Established in 1986, the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation raises funds for research; compiles and disseminates the latest treatment information; and engages in patient advocacy. It also provides appropriate referrals including support groups which engages in patient, professional, and community education.

How do I choose a support group? ›

Before joining a support group, ask the following questions:
  1. Is the group designed for people with a specific medical condition or certain stage of a disease?
  2. Does the group meet for a set period of time or does it continue indefinitely?
  3. Where does the group meet?
  4. At what times and how often does the group meet?

What are support groups called? ›

These groups may also be referred to as fellowships, peer support groups, lay organizations, mutual help groups, or mutual aid self-help groups. Most common are 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and self-help groups for mental health.

Is OCD classed as a disability? ›

Under the ADA it considers a disability to be “a physical or mental impairment” that limits someone's ability to functioning in daily activities. It includes OCD to be a disability. Those victims who have no choice but to live with OCD know how much its symptoms can interrupt day-to-day living.

Does OCD count as special needs? ›

Although the law does not include OCD as a specific disability, children may be eligible to receive special education services through an “Other Health Impairment (OHI)” or “Emotional Disturbance (ED)” exception.

What is root cause of OCD? ›

Experts aren't sure of the exact cause of OCD. Genetics, brain abnormalities, and the environment are thought to play a role. It often starts in the teens or early adulthood. But, it can also start in childhood.

Can OCD be triggered by trauma? ›

The onset of OCD is not limited to the original meaning of trauma; rather, traumatic experiences such as unexpected exposure to contaminants or various stressful life events often cause the onset of OCD.

What is the permanent solution for OCD? ›

Depending on the severity of OCD , some people may need long-term, ongoing or more intensive treatment. The two main treatments for OCD are psychotherapy and medications. Often, treatment is most effective with a combination of these.

Is OCD genetic? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious psychiatric disorder that affects approximately 2% of the populations of children and adults. Family aggregation studies have demonstrated that OCD is familial, and results from twin studies demonstrate that the familiality is due in part to genetic factors.

What is the most successful form of treatment for OCD? ›

More specifically, the most effective treatments are a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which has the strongest evidence supporting its use in the treatment of OCD, and/or a class of medications called serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SRIs.

What is the color for OCD awareness? ›

Teal is the universal color used and recognized to bring awareness to OCD.

Can OCD be cured permanently without medication? ›

OCD Treatment can be done without any drugs with treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and psychotherapy. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a behavioral issue that is associated with compulsions and obsessions.

What are the 7 types of support? ›

Understanding the Different Types of Social Support
  • Emotional Support. ...
  • Informational Support. ...
  • Tangible Support. ...
  • Self-esteem or Affirmational Support. ...
  • Belonging Support.
27 Apr 2020

What are the negatives of support groups? ›

Cons of Support Groups

Speaking in front of a group about personal and private mental health challenges can be intimidating, especially for those with anxiety disorders. They are run on a trust-based system, so what you share is not covered by confidentiality laws.

What are 3 types of support all people need? ›

Social Support
  • Emotional.
  • Instrumental.
  • Informational.
  • Appraisal.

What is the difference between group therapy and support groups? ›

While both support groups and group therapy offer support, the goal of group therapy is to help members change, while the goal of support groups is to help members cope. Support groups tend to have a particular theme, such as parents with sick children, and all who attend have some connection to that theme.

How effective are support groups? ›

The emotional support derived from support group participation can help reduce stress, which can have a positive impact on health. Further, people may greatly benefit from the information sharing that takes place in a support group.

What can support groups provide? ›

support groups or self-help groups. These are run by trained peers and focus on emotional support, sharing experiences, education and practical activities. one-to-one support sometimes called mentoring or befriending. You meet someone to talk about how you're feeling or to set goals, for example.

Can you claim money for having OCD? ›

You may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on OCD if your condition is well documented and severely debilitating. OCD is evaluated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an anxiety-related disorder.

What are the symptoms of severe OCD? ›

  • Fear of contamination or dirt.
  • Doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty.
  • Needing things orderly and symmetrical.
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about losing control and harming yourself or others.
  • Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects.
11 Mar 2020

Is OCD severe mental impairment? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health condition in which uncontrollable obsessions lead to compulsive behaviors. When this condition becomes severe, it can interfere with relationships and responsibilities and significantly reduce quality of life. It can be debilitating.

What are the 3 OCD related disorders? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) Hoarding disorder. Trichotillomania.

How disabling is OCD? ›

If you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the condition can make it very difficult to maintain full-time work activity. As many as 2 out of 5 individuals with OCD have shown significant occupational impairment and have been unable to work due to psychiatric symptoms.

What are 3 types of OCD related disorders? ›

OCD was once categorized as a type of anxiety disorder, but now it heads its own group of related conditions.
Other conditions listed in the OCD category are:
  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). ...
  • Trichotillomania. ...
  • Excoriation disorder. ...
  • OCD caused by substances, medication, or medical conditions.

Can OCD be seen in a brain scan? ›

OCD was one of the first psychiatric disorders in brain scans showed evidence of abnormal brain activity in specific regions.

When is OCD severe? ›

At its most severe, however, OCD can impact someone's ability to work, go to school, run errands, or even care for themselves. People with severe OCD have obsessions with cleanliness and germs — washing their hands, taking showers, or cleaning their homes for hours a day.

Is OCD a mental illness or neurological disorder? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness, with a chronic (long-lasting) state of anxiety. It traps people in a constant cycle of repeated obsessions and compulsions: OCD obsessions: People with OCD have repetitive and distressing fears or urges they can't control.

What kind of childhood trauma causes OCD? ›

Results: Emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect were highly prevalent in our sample. Additionally, the severity of experienced childhood maltreatment was associated with higher OCD symptom severity, with the strongest association found for emotional abuse.

Can parents cause OCD? ›

PARENTING. As previously indicated, there is no evidence that the way parents guide or discipline their children causes OCD. Parents should not be blamed when a child exhibits symptoms of this disorder. FAMILY ACCOMMODATIONS.

Is OCD a form of PTSD? ›

1 IN 4 INDIVIDUALS WITH PTSD ALSO EXPERIENCING OCD. The role of trauma in PTSD is well defined, but a new phenomenon called trauma-related OCD, in which a patient develops OCD after experiencing a trauma, has been coined to refer to the link between trauma and OCD.

What are 3 treatments for OCD? ›

Treatments for OCD
  • Exposure Therapy. The psychotherapy of choice for the treatment of OCD is exposure and response prevention (ERP), which is a form of CBT. ...
  • Imaginal Exposure. ...
  • Habit Reversal Training. ...
  • Cognitive Therapy.

How do I break my OCD cycle? ›

Talk with a mental health professional

One of the most successful types of therapy for treating OCD is exposure response prevention (ERP). This type of therapy gradually exposes you to the things that can trigger your OCD and works to help you manage your obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.

Is OCD due to lack of serotonin? ›

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder which, like many anxiety disorders, is marked by low levels of serotonin. Serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter, has a variety of functions that make a deficiency a serious and anxiety producing issue.

What does OCD do to the brain? ›

Brain structure and function

Studies show that OCD patients have excess activity in frontal regions of the brain, including the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which could explain their intrusive thoughts and high levels of anxiety, respectively.

Is OCD caused by a chemical imbalance? ›

Chemical Imbalance Factors Associated With OCD

Individuals with OCD often have certain chemical imbalances present in the brain. Changes in the neurochemicals serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate are normally present in OCD cases.

What is the number one medication for OCD? ›

This is why the American Psychiatric Association recommends fluoxetine, along with other SSRIs, as one of the first-choice medications that can be used to treat OCD.

How do you treat OCD without medication? ›

Psychotherapy or talk therapy has been used effectively to treat OCD. This type of therapy works especially well when it is combined with medication. Your therapist may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help with your OCD. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT that works well for OCD.

How many therapy sessions are needed for OCD? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the effective psychological interventions for obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), which usually involves 10 or more sessions.

What is the stigma around OCD? ›

People with OCD fear stigma at work, at home and in their relationships. They worry about being judged or mistreated because of their OCD label. This fear is very harmful. It keeps sufferers from seeking help and talking to others about their problems.

What is the most common theme in OCD? ›

OCD often fixates around one or more themes. Some of the most common themes are contamination, harm, checking and perfection.

Is OCD on the spectrum? ›

The obsessive-compulsive spectrum is an important concept referring to a number of disorders drawn from several diagnostic categories that share core obsessive-compulsive features. These disorders can be grouped by the focus of their symptoms: bodily preoccupation, impulse control, or neurological disorders.

Can I cure OCD by myself? ›

The only way to beat OCD is by experiencing and psychologically processing triggered anxiety (exposure) until it resolves on its own—without trying to neutralize it with any safety-seeking action (response or ritual prevention).

What is living with OCD like? ›

People with OCD tend to have distressing thoughts that won't go away. They might act on their compulsions for temporary relief, even when they don't really want to. OCD can feel like a roadblock, and asking for help can be difficult.

Does magnesium help with OCD? ›

Magnesium Improves Brain Chemicals that Help Anxiety, OCD, Depression, and ADHD. Magnesium plays an essential role in neurologic function, including involvement in neurotransmitter synthesis, nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction.

Are there support groups near me? ›

Best Support Groups near me in Los Angeles, CA
  • All "Support Groups" results in Los Angeles, CA. Showing 1-60 of 2244.
  • N. 1 APAIT. 1.9 mi. ...
  • N. 2 Group Therapy LA. 4.8 mi. ...
  • N. 3 The Relational Center. 4.2 mi. ...
  • N. 4 Monday Night Mission. ...
  • N. 5 Southern California Counseling Center. ...
  • N. 6 West Valley Counseling Center. ...
  • N. 7 Vida Therapy.

What does a support group provide? ›

support groups or self-help groups. These are run by trained peers and focus on emotional support, sharing experiences, education and practical activities. one-to-one support sometimes called mentoring or befriending. You meet someone to talk about how you're feeling or to set goals, for example.

What is a support group and how does it work? ›

A support group is a gathering of people facing common issues to share what's troubling them. Through the sharing of experiences, they're able to offer support, encouragement, and comfort to the other group members, and receive the same in return.

How do local support groups help with anxiety? ›

Anxiety support groups offer people opportunities to attend regular meetings where people experiencing similar feelings and situations can offer support to each other. Members may share their experiences and coping strategies to reduce feelings of loneliness.

How do you get help when you can't help? ›

Crisis Lines and Help Lines

In the United States, call 988 for free and confidential support if you are in distress or crisis. If you are experiencing a medical emergency then you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Where can I turn to for help? ›

211 connects you to expert, caring help. Every call is completely confidential.

Are support groups effective? ›

The evidence for peer support groups

increase quality of life outcomes (i.e. increases in employment, reduction in symptoms) increased trust, engagement & retention in the mental health care system. increased whole health (meeting goals, increased hopefulness, life satisfaction, more meaningful relationships)

Do you have to talk in a support group? ›

Marla: Yes, and I make it very clear that no one is required to speak at the meetings. They are welcome to join us to simply observe until they feel comfortable enough to participate.

What are two mistakes to avoid leading support groups? ›

Losing Impartiality – Taking sides in the group. Taking sides can come in many forms from simply taking sides in an argument to joining the group to persuade, scapegoat or change. Evaluating Rather Than Understanding – Imposing one's values on the group or being judgemental.

Where can I talk to someone about my anxiety? ›

Professionals you can open up to about your mental health include doctors, therapists, or peer supporters. If you already see a doctor, that can be a great place to start—and they can help you find a therapist or any other specialists you may need to see. If you're in school, a school counselor can help you with this.

What are 3 things a person with anxiety could do to help with anxiety? ›

Things you can try to help with anxiety, fear and panic
  • try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. ...
  • use calming breathing exercises.
  • exercise – activities such as running, walking, swimming and yoga can help you relax.

What are 3 things you can do to help someone with anxiety? ›

You could:
  1. Offer to help them arrange a doctor's appointment. ...
  2. Offer support when they attend appointments. ...
  3. Help them seek help from a therapist. ...
  4. Help them research different options for support, such as community services or peer support groups such as those run by Anxiety UK and No Panic.


1. What are some important aspects to consider when starting an OCD support group?
(International OCD Foundation)
2. The Good And The Bad Of OCD Support Groups
3. WayAhead's Anxiety Support Groups Explained
(WayAhead - Mental Health Association)
4. Wednesday Support Group: Intrusive Thoughts
(International OCD Foundation)
5. NAMI Mental Health Support Groups: A Safe Space
6. Self Help and Support Groups Overview
(Doc Snipes)
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