So you’ve come to realize that your teen is struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or Generalized Anxiety Disorder just in time for the holidays. While the winter holidays can be a wonderful time filled with cherished traditions and glad tidings, they can also be full of uniquely stressful challenges such as fulfilling annual obligations or interacting with family members that aren’t exactly the most respectful. Adding yet another thing to your list may feel like too much, so while you want to help your teen address these issues, you might be considering waiting until the holiday season is over. The fact that you are considering this is understandable, and you definitely aren’t alone in feeling this way, but the time to address your teen’s problems is now. And, since many people avoid addressing these issues during the holidays, treatment centers have more availability and low census. In other words: now is an excellent time to enter your teen as a new patient. There are many other advantages to acting now, such as making a less stressful holiday achievable, fostering strong family relationships, and your teen having the time off from school now.
How Can Addressing My Teen’s OCD/Anxiety Make a
Less Stressful Holiday Possible?
While it might seem like addressing these concerns now would be too much to handle on top of all the demands of the holiday season, addressing them now would actually be the less stressful option. Your teen’s symptoms are likely to add to the stresses of the holiday whether you address them or not, since they are likely to interfere with your holiday plans in a number of ways.
Anxiety can cause problems such as:
- difficulties holiday shopping due to a fear of crowds or of being accidentally separated from others in a crowded public space
- lack of sleep, irritability, and/or increased stress leading to arguments
- isolation as a means to avoid danger, or embarrassment
- over-planning for visits with extended family
- worry that inability to hide symptoms might draw attention and ‘ruin’ the holiday
OCD can also cause problems, such as:
- Insisting that holiday decorations have to be put up in a specific way or needing repeated reassurance that they put up decorations “the right way”
- Increased pressure to make the holiday ‘perfect’
- inability to hide symptoms making them a target for scrutiny during social occasions
- difficulty taking part in traditions that require physical contact with others due to fear of contracting disease
- arranging presents in an exact order before opening them
- worrying about the holidays being ruined by a tragedy
- fear that failing to act a certain way or perform a certain action will harm someone and ruin the holidays for them forever
Since OCD and Anxiety are both conditions that interfere with daily life, you are likely going to end up managing your teen’s symptoms whether you actively address them or not; addressing them with the help of a licensed professional will provide you with the tools you need to handle these issues effectively.
How Can Addressing My Teen’s OCD/Anxiety Now
Foster Good Family Relationships?
Addressing your teen’s issues now will help prevent arguments that could arise due to the stress of dealing with their symptoms. There are also other factors that would actively boost family relationships, such as:
- preventing lasting damage to family relationships that can often be caused by untreated OCD/Anxiety
- help creating healthy boundaries to insure that your teen’s needs are being met without detracting from the needs of everyone else in the family
- ensuring that any other children or teens in the household also get enough attention during the holidays
Nurturing strong family ties is an important element of the holiday spirit, so the holiday season is the perfect time to address these concerns.
Why Would It Be Beneficial to Address My Teen’s
OCD/Anxiety While They Have Time Off From School?
Seeking treatment for OCD or Anxiety is a commitment that often involves a transitionary period. Not only does finding the right therapist for your teen often take time since it is important to find one that your teen feels comfortable talking to, it will take time for your teen to build trust with their therapist once you find one. Additionally, forming an effective treatment plan also takes time, and often involves making changes at home in order to create a supportive environment. All of these changes in your teen’s life will be much easier for them to handle if they aren’t also juggling school responsibilities and dealing with peer pressure at the same time.
But My Teen Isn’t In Crisis: Can’t I Afford To Wait?
If your teen has been functioning relatively well, you may be wondering if the problem could wait just a little bit longer. While it’s great that your teen is doing well, it’s likely that they’re not doing as well as they could be. Addressing these issues now will also help show your teen how to make taking care of their mental health a priority in their life. Learning how to prioritize their own well-being will be of vital importance, since it will help them be receptive to treatment. If your teen is receptive to treatment, then it could be possible to prevent a crisis from happening. Finally, it is never too early to seek the support that your teen and the rest of your family needs