Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) disrupts millions of people’s relationships, self-esteem, and home lives each year, but the disorder can also be extremely difficult to manage in the workplace. The patterns and rituals that hallmark the disorder, such as repeatedly checking the door to be sure it’s locked, can negatively affect a person’s job performance and ability to reach their goals. To learn more about OCD and the workplace, contact Promises Behavioral Health today.
What is OCD?
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that causes sufferers to have continuous undesirable thoughts, known as obsessions. These usually in conjunction with repeated actions and behaviors to ward off undesirable thoughts. Common OCD behaviors include:
- Counting or numbering objects
- Checking things
- Washing the hands repeatedly with the false belief that the unwanted obsessions will leave
The behaviors, also called rituals, only lessen the anxiety for a short time, and people with OCD can have great difficulty managing daily tasks. In the workplace, the disorder may mean a person has to have everything on their desk precisely arranged before they can begin a task or attend a meeting. It may mean the person may become overwhelmed by troubling thoughts and need a few moments away to regroup periodically throughout the day.
Challenges of OCD
People with OCD may be unable to control their obsessions and compulsions. OCD can be very time-consuming and can interfere with professional and personal relationships. It can cause a great deal of anxiety and distress.
Others often don’t understand OCD, which makes many social situations awkward. People with OCD may be embarrassed or ashamed of their symptoms. As a result, they may try to hide their symptoms from family and friends.
Untreated OCD can get worse and can lead to depression, substance abuse, and other problems. But with treatment, most people with OCD can get relief from their symptoms.
OCD and the Workplace
OCD in the workplace often creates misunderstandings between coworkers, employees, and supervisors. A person with OCD may need to check and recheck their files before entering a meeting. As a result, their coworkers may think that the person is disorganized or late.
The symptoms of OCD may also slow a person’s progress on tasks, giving the impression that they are putting jobs off or are unmotivated. Strong communication with a person’s employer about the condition can help and may help create the modifications that make workplace success possible for people with OCD. Some of these modifications include:
- Allowing the person to telecommute from home
- Giving them project deadlines as much in advance as possible
However, people with OCD have no legal obligation to provide information to their employer about the condition, nor can the employer legally discriminate against them for having the disorder. Still, many people with OCD struggle at work in silence because they fear negative opinions from coworkers, disapproval from their supervisor, or being overlooked for certain projects. Certain career options may create a better environment for people with OCD than others.
For example, working law enforcement or some form of a regulatory job means strict guidelines and rules are enforced. These rules may help a person with OCD cope with their need for control and organization. Because people with OCD typically prefer step-by-step processes, activities like business planning may be good career paths. Accounting and finance careers can also be healthy for people with OCD. In addiction, many technical jobs can be done on one’s own, like Internet-based design or programming.
Contact Promises Behavioral Health
Finding the right fit for a career can be a challenge for someone with OCD. However, millions of people with this disorder maintain productive, satisfying careers. The condition is treatable, typically with a combination of therapy and medications – and remaining in communication about the disorder can also help employees make any needed modifications to thrive at work.
If you’re struggling with OCD in the workplace, the experts at Promises Behavioral Health can help. Our treatment programs include a range of exceptional therapy programs. Our therapy programs include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This helps people with OCD to identify and correct distorted thinking patterns that contribute to their anxiety.
- Dialectical behavior therapy: This approach is particularly useful for people with OCD who also have difficulty managing emotions.
- Yoga therapy: This holistic treatment can help people with OCD to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of mind-body connection.
- Art therapy: This expressive style of therapy can help people with OCD to externalize their thoughts and feelings in a creative way.
- Meditation therapy: This mindfulness-based therapy can help people with OCD to learn to focus their attention and calm their minds.