The Role Recovery Avoidance May Play with OCD

Jennifer March, MS

Only 10% of people will fully recover from OCD — recovery avoidance might play a part in that.

Disclaimer: Although I have personal and professional experience in the mental health field, I am not a licensed mental health professional. The information contained in this article is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this article are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disorder.



When someone is in the throws of their OCD, they are lost — but unaware most of the time.

OCD carries a 10% rate for full recovery. With a rate that low, it begs to why this is?

There may be a minimization of symptoms meaning, the person plays down how bad their symptoms genuinely are.

What is recovery avoidance?

Recovery avoidance is similar to someone who has a physical disorder but doesn't seek treatment. People with recovery avoidance will typically downplay how bad their symptoms or they may even go as far as rejecting the diagnosis.

OCD is a disorder with a vast array of symptoms. There are many different possibilities that the disease can present itself. Knowing the signs and symptoms of OCD is the start to learning to manage the disorder properly.

Any fear that causes you isolation and daily torment is too much to bear alone — yet we do because that is all we may know.

Exploring why someone may avoid treatment can help understand why someone would absolutely avoid it.

Afraid of life without OCD

OCD symptoms typically start at a young age, so this is all this person truly knows. For me, I can see my symptoms going back to when I was 10 years old. The constant year and obsessions become a comfort.

Recovery avoidance can be done for a variety of reasons. From BeyondOCD, they discuss the common reasons someone may delay or avoid treatment for OCD:

  • OCD is comfortable for someone
  • Fear of change
  • Can’t imagine life without OCD
  • Enabling OCD behaviors (from family, friends, etc.)
  • Treatment-related fears
  • Obsessions over getting ‘perfect’ treatment

There can be many different reasons why someone avoids treatment for OCD — they are not confined to this list alone.

I admit that I would like to try exposure therapy, but I don’t want to be triggered. Being exposed to my fears and phobias is terrifying to me. Could you imagine facing your worst fears?

OCD builds a steady routine of symptoms that cause you to lose parts of your day. When you constantly have to alleviate your anxiety. OCD is predictable, understandable, and something that we are used to.

Stepping away from that can feel like a complete loss. But it’s important to manage a disorder, especially when it is impacting your life.

No matter what, treatment is always the best option.

The importance of treatment

Treatment is invaluable when it comes to seeking relief from any mental health disorder. Without proper treatment, the condition can begin to manifest in other ways.

Treating a mental health disorder is as important as treating a physical ailment.

In the end, getting treatment is the best option. Going at a pace you are comfortable with. The patient has to be an active participant in the treatment, or the treatment will not work.



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As Originally Posted on Medium

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Psych nerd turned freelance writer | MS in Psychology | Mom of two cats and some house plants | #MentalHealthAdvocate #BeKind


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