Empowering Every
Journey with OCD

OCD Midwest stands as a beacon for individuals, families, and professionals, offering insights, resources,
and community support for all touched by OCD.

United in Strength: Walking Together Towards Understanding and Healing in OCD

OCD Comes With Great Cost.

Isolation

Feeling alone in the struggle, misunderstood by many, and longing for genuine connection and understanding.

Overwhelm

Facing relentless intrusive thoughts, crippling doubt, and the weight of OCD's unyielding grip daily.

Desperation

Watching a loved one suffer, feeling helpless, and endlessly searching for the right resources.

A Collective Force Against OCD

Find The Help And
Resources You Need

We are a dedicated team of professionals, advocates, and individuals united by a common goal: to provide resources, support, and education about OCD.

We’re Fighting OCD With You

Together, We Challenge OCD's Grip

Empowerment through unity, knowledge, and action.

2x
More likely to manage OCD with strong support.
60%
Symptom reduction with structured therapy.
3x
Better outcomes with early intervention.
1 in 5
Find relief through group therapy.

Find Local Support & Therapy

Connect with nearby therapists, support groups, and individuals who understand your journey.

Helpful Events

Engage with enlightening webinars, workshops, and community events tailored for your needs.

Powerful Resources

Dive into a curated collection of articles, videos, and tools to empower your OCD journey.

“As a person with OCD, it is hard to believe in 2024 OCD is still so misunderstood. Participating in the Akron Canton 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk in 2023 brought awareness to many by having it in a very public place, The Akron Zoo.  Walkers and their families walked with no shame.  It was a great feeling being with others who know what one goes through many days.”

SL

Person with OCD

“I began to seek out the IOCDF and search for resources during a particularly difficult bout of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. I struggle with many kinds of intrusive thoughts, and especially those relating to sexual violence bring me a lot of shame. During this time, I was able to find an online support group that provided me with company and solidarity. I am immensely grateful for that. I was also able to participate in research studies to advance OCD care in the future, which motivated me to continue on.”

AD

Person with OCD

“Now, OCD Midwest has grown from myself and Charlie as the leaders to an organization with a full board. I am proud of my role in the development of OCD Midwest, and I wish it nothing but the best. ”

Patrick B. McGrath, Ph.D.

Immediate Former President, OCD Midwest

Get Involved! It’s Easy.

Join

Sign up for updates, follow our socials, and stay connected with like-minded souls.

Engage

Interact with us on socials, attend our events, and use our platform as your go-to OCD resource.

Conquer

With a robust support community by your side, unlock the strength to navigate and overcome OCD challenges.

Dive Deeper:
Tools for Sufferers and Specialists

Embrace support with OCD Midwest. Access resources and join a community that understands. Your brighter future starts here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about joining the OCD Midwest community? We've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions to help you navigate your journey. Whether you're new to OCD or seeking further insight, find clarity and answers below.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by the presence of persistent, distressing, and intrusive thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions or rituals). These compulsions are often performed to alleviate the anxiety or discomfort associated with the obsessive thoughts. Unfortunately it does not eliminate the obsessions and in fact it causes them to get stronger and to keep coming back. This is the vicious cycle of OCD.

What are some common OCD themes?

Contamination:

Fear of being contaminated by germs, dirt, or environmental toxins, leading to compulsive behaviors such as excessive handwashing, avoidance of certain places, or rituals involving cleanliness.

Checking:

Persistent doubts and fears about safety or potential harm, leading to compulsive checking behaviors. This may involve repeatedly checking locks, appliances, or personal items.

Symmetry and Order:

An overwhelming need for things to be symmetrical, orderly, or arranged in a specific way. Compulsive behaviors may include arranging objects, counting, or repeating actions until they feel "just right."

Intrusive Thoughts:

Disturbing, unwanted thoughts or mental images, often of a violent, sexual, or blasphemous nature. Individuals with this theme may engage in mental rituals or compulsive behaviors to neutralize the anxiety associated with these thoughts.

Fear of Harming Others:

Persistent fears of accidentally causing harm to others, either physically or through negligence. Compulsions may involve seeking reassurance, avoiding certain activities, or mentally reviewing actions.

Religious or Moral Obsessions:

Intrusive thoughts related to religious beliefs or morality, often conflicting with an individual's values. Compulsions may involve prayer, seeking reassurance from religious figures, or engaging in rituals to neutralize perceived moral transgressions.

Health Anxiety:

Excessive worry about having a serious medical condition or fear of contracting a disease. Compulsions may include frequent medical check-ups, researching symptoms, or seeking reassurance from healthcare professionals.

Perfectionism and Fear of Making Mistake:

The need for things to be perfect or an intense fear of making mistakes. Compulsions may involve repetitive actions, checking, or reassurance-seeking to ensure perfection.

It's important to note that individuals with OCD may experience more than one theme, and themes can change over time. Additionally, individuals may develop unique obsessions and compulsions that do not fit neatly into these categories. The severity of symptoms and their impact on daily life can vary among individuals with OCD.

Can OCD Be Treated?

Yes, OCD is treatable. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), particularly a form known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a highly effective therapeutic approach. ERP is often used in conjunction with medications prescribed by a psychiatrist to help manage symptoms.

ERP involves intentionally exposing yourself to distressing thoughts, images, items, or situations that make you anxious in a planned and intentional way. The goal is to expose you to the anxiety-inducing experience, while preventing your typical response, including avoidance behaviors and compulsions. This process allows you to learn something different, rather than reinforce your existing fears and obsessions.

When you decide to engage in ERP treatment, you will work with your therapist to assess your obsessions and compulsions, set goals, and create an exposure list. Your therapist will also make sure you understand the cycle of anxiety, and how ERP works. You will always be in the driver’s seat, choosing which topics to focus on, and at apace that feels manageable for you. A core component of ERP is practice in between sessions, and your therapist will help support you in doing so in a way that feels challenging, but not overwhelming.

The ultimate goal of ERP is that you will be able to engage in valued activities in your life, without compulsions or anxiety getting in the way.

What does OCD Midwest have to offer?

Education

Virtual and in person educational options for professionals and the community, blogs that include helpful information, and scholarships to conferences and continuing education events.

Consultation

Four consultation groups for professionals working with clients with OCD and related disorders.

Support

Family support group welcoming those with loved ones diagnosed with OCD and related disorders.

Awareness

Walks and community events throughout our catchment area (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana) to raise awareness of OCD and related disorders.

What steps can I take if I suspect I have OCD?

First Step

Visit OCDTest.com (taken from OCD SoCal website)The OCD Test website has been created by a team of professionals dedicated to helping people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Their goal is to aid individuals in recognizing they have the condition, which allows them to find effective treatment for OCD. Their goal in offering this online test is to support people worldwide with the tools to identify OCD. Additionally, they aim to provide education so individuals can understand this condition and find effective treatment. The quicker someone with OCD receives treatment, the sooner they can go back to living a “normal” and healthy life. The team at OCDTest.com hopes their online OCD test will help shorten the time it takes to find adequate treatment.The test measure utilized by OCDTest.com is the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), which is the industry standard in helping to diagnose the severity of OCD symptoms. Although this test is the gold standard, the professionals at OCDTest.com recommend being assessed by a therapist specializing in the treatment of OCD to receive a true diagnosis.The OCDTest.com website is dedicated to individuals suffering from OCD. We believe in you, and never forget that this condition is treatable.Take the free, online OCD test by visiting OCDTest.com.

Second Step

To search for an OCD provider to receive a true diagnosis and treatment visit IOCDF.org and search for providers by your zip code. How can I get involved? Looking to volunteer? Please email ocd-midwest@iocdf.org to inquire about current opportunities. We would love dedicated volunteers either in the professional role or someone with lived experience.

How can I get involved?

Looking to volunteer? Please email ocd-midwest@iocdf.org to inquire about current opportunities. We would love dedicated volunteers either in the professional role or someone with lived experience. 

How do I help a loved one with OCD?

Education

Education is the first step. The more you learn, the more you will be able to understand and help the person with OCD.

Get started by:

  • Visiting the About OCD section on IOCDF.org to learn about causes, treatments, and more.
  • Reading books on OCD.
  • Reading our quarterly OCD Newsletter with information on the latest treatments and research.
  • Attending an OCD support group for family members.
  • Finding other online research and resources.

Recognize

Learn to recognize and reduce "Family Accommodation Behaviors: "Family Accommodation Behaviors are things families do that enable OCD symptoms. Families are constantly affected by the demands of OCD. Research shows that how a family responds to the OCD may help fuel OCD symptoms. The more that family members can learn about their responses to OCD, and the impact they have on the person with OCD, the more the family becomes empowered to make a difference! Here are some examples of these problem behaviors:

  • Participating in the behavior. You participate in your family member's OCD behavior along with them. Example: You wash your hands whenever they wash their hands.
  • Assisting in avoiding. You help your family member avoid things that upset them. Example: You do their laundry for them so that it is cleaned the "right" way.
  • Helping with the behavior. You do things for your family member that lets them do OCD behaviors: Example: You buy large amounts of cleaning products for them.
  • Making changes in family routine. You alter the way your family usually does things: Example You change the time of day that you shower or when you change your clothes.
  • Taking on extra responsibilities. Example: You go out of your way to drive them places when they could otherwise drive themselves.
  • Making changes in leisure activities. Example: Your family member gets you to not leave the house without them and this affects your interests in movies, dining out, time with friends, etc.
  • Making changes at your job. Example: You cut back on hours at your job in order to take care of your family member.

Still have questions?

Feel free to send a message to our board members.

Contact Us
OCD Midwest Events

Engaging Gatherings for All

From therapist trainings to community meet-ups, our events are designed to educate, connect, and inspire both professionals and individuals alike.

One Million Steps for OCD Walk in Evanston, IL The One Million Steps for OCD Walk Is A Community Engagement.
Led by Krystyna Olejnyik, Maha Zayed, and Marilee Feldman | 3rd Friday of every month 12 to 1 PM CT
Led by Joanna Hardis | 2nd Friday by each month 12 to 1 PM ET