Yesterday, Janet Singer, of OCD Talk, wrote a really great post about fighting stigma for Beyond OCD. While I was visiting the Beyond OCD site, I came across another interesting post entitled Roadmap to Recovery: Families of Adult OCD Sufferers Living at Home by John Hart and Throstur Bjorguinsson. It was the first paragraph of this article that caught my attention:
Because of the debilitating nature of OCD, many adult OCD sufferers find themselves living at home with parents or other family members. Since OCD sufferers are often unable to work, it can be financially impractical to live independently. A retrospective study of the adult patients admitted over a 7-month period in 2007 at the Menninger Clinic OCD Treatment Program confirms many of these difficulties (Björgvinsson, Heffelfinger, Wetterneck, & Hart, 2007, March). Approximately 81% of adults lived at home with family, despite only 14% of them being married. Although most were unemployed (86%), many also required help with daily living tasks such as grooming and cleaning (62%). In addition, most sufferers (75%) reported a significant disruption in social activities and indicated the cost of treatment and the loss of wages were a significant financial burden on family (77%). These data suggest that OCD presents ongoing challenges to both the patient and the family system. Marital problems, family conflict, isolation, and financial strain are common results of the stress that OCD places on both the sufferer and the family.
Wow. It is unbelievable, and yet it is so true. I personally know many people that have not been able to work, or have had significant disruptions in their careers because of OCD. Though I have been a homemaker for the last 15 years, I do know that there would have been times in my life where working outside the home would have been impossible due to the disabling nature of my illness. I also know that had I not been married, I most likely would have had to move in with my parents, as there was a time when I needed constant support and "hand holding" just to make it through the day.
Just in case anyone was wondering, living with OCD is no joke. And doing it alone? Well, I can't even imagine.