Talking OCD Stigma with Dr. Jan Weiner

Why is OCD So Stigmatized and How Does Stigma Impact Sufferers?

Written by Lauren O'Shaughnessy

01 Dr. Jan Weiner is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City.

02 In this video, she discusses the stigma surrounding mental illness. For more info on Dr. Weiner, please visit: https://www.drjanweiner.com/

03 OCD3 is a web series that brings professional perspectives to the OCD community so sufferers can make healthy decisions and lead better lives.

OCD3: OCD & Stigma

Read the full transcript below:

1) What’s the relation between OCD and stigma?

What I try to tell clients is that nearly everyone has these thoughts. The only difference between someone with OCD and someone without, is the amount that those thoughts impair them, the amount of anxiety attached to those thoughts, and how significant those thoughts become to them. Whereas people who don't have OCD have those thoughts and are able to let them go. I try to remove the stigma by saying that this is something everyone experiences, but your anxiety attached to that is what’s fueling your fears.

2) What are common fears about being stigmatized?

Some common fears people have about being stigmatized are that they will be fired, or certain employment opportunities won't be available to them. That they will not be able to be active members in society or active members in their congregation or parish, or that they will not be able to be parents or have healthy relationships with a spouse.

3) Are there common ways to combat stigma?

To combat stigma, you have to understand that you're not alone. This is something that a lot of people experience. It doesn’t make you crazy. It’s not something that’s wrong with you. It's just a challenge that you're facing and something you have to learn to manage in a different way than people who don't have OCD.

4) How can you educate family and friends to reduce stigma?

Educating family and friends about what you’re suffering from can be helpful in certain circumstances, as long as your family is empathetic, supportive and helpful.

I will often give assign a book for the family to read so that they can understand what my client is suffering from. But, everything depends on the supportiveness of the family. If you have family members who are not healthy participants, then I may not include them.

For more videos from our OCD3 series, head to our YouTube channel here.

About the author

Lauren is cofounder and director of content at the Made of Millions Foundation. She has been a part of the team since its launch in 2016. She has been open about her personal struggles with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and social phobia. You can follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/internet_lauren

Original Series

Support our work

We’re on a mission to change how the world perceives mental health.