a therapist discusses the results of parents accommodating ocd

Parents who Accommodate OCD Behaviors May Worsen the Condition

As parents, we want to do what is best for our children. However, when mental health conditions come into play, the “best thing” may not always be clear. For instance, for parents whose children struggle with OCD, working with them, and accommodating their needs may seem ideal. After all, it’s all about making sure that they’re happy. Unfortunately, parents accommodating OCD symptoms could be doing more harm than good. At Promises Behavioral Health, we’re committed to helping you make the best choices for your child. To learn more about our OCD treatment programs, contact Promises Behavioral Health today. 

What does the Research Say About Parents Accommodating OCD?

A recent study shows that parents who accommodate obsessive-compulsive behavior in their children may actually be triggering more serious symptoms—but cognitive behavioral therapy may help in reversing the symptoms. In the study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida, 49 children ages 6 to 18 with OCD took part in 14 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy with their parents, where an emphasis was placed on helping parents reduce “family accommodation,” or trying to soothe their child’s anxiety by offering comfort, giving the child objects, or even doing tasks for them like homework.

The therapy also includes exposure-response prevention, which is based on the idea that by facing their fears, people will eventually stop their behaviors as they find better ways to cope with anxiety. Tests were given before the sessions to measure the children’s level of OCD and note how often parents enabled their behavior. Researchers found that the more serious the OCD symptoms, the more the parents accommodated their children.

After therapy, parents did not accommodate or facilitate the behavior as much, and parents who changed the most also saw the most progress in their children. The researchers noted the study’s limitations, including the lack of a control group, the fact that most participants were white and middle- or upper-class, and that parents reported their own levels of accommodation. The authors recommend that further studies be conducted on the subject.

Getting Treatment at Promises Behavioral Health

At Promises Behavioral Health, we know that parents accommodating OCD symptoms can be stressful for the entire family. It can be particularly trying for teens or young adults who drink to self-medicate their symptoms. In such cases, it’s critical that you seek out dual diagnosis treatment for them. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both addiction and mental illness at the same time.

In the cases of both mental illness and addiction, simultaneous treatment is critical. If you only get treatment for OCD, your addiction may cause the symptoms to come back and get worse. Conversely, if you only get treatment for your addiction, the OCD symptoms come back without anything to prevent them. The only way to truly recover from both substance abuse and mental illness is to get dual diagnosis treatment.

At Promises Behavioral Health, our experienced staff members are experts in treating people with both addiction and mental illness. We understand how tempting it can be for the parents accommodating OCD symptoms to just stick to the status quo. However, it’s not the best thing for you or your family. We can help you and your family overcome these symptoms when you seek long-term recovery. We offer many evidence-based and holistic therapy options to help your loved one recover. Some of our therapeutic options include:

For parents accommodating OCD symptoms, we can give you and your child the help you need. To learn more about our treatment options or to enroll your child in treatment, contact Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609 today.

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