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How can a carer get help to intervene to avoid consequences for their loved who will or cannot "self treat"?

My dear friend's son has lived with OCD for years but now in mid-20's, very suddenly, OCD is dominating his life and virtually preventing him eating - this cannot go on!  

This fine young man was studying at university 3 months ago driving himself there and managing a heavy study load successfully and it all fell apart - to us, it is incredible this can happen "so fast".

My friend and her son have seen  a specialist psychiatrist for OCD treatment but the doctor can only advise and if the patient will or cannot do what is recommended or prescribed; things will not improve and in fact have got much worse with the OCD now interfering with his eating, sleeping - every thing

Her son believes drugs will not help and will cause side effects

My friend called Life Line - but they cannot advise the carer other than on the carer's welfare

My friend can forsee her son ending up in 'imposed' treatment in hosplital and is frightened for her son, who is a gentle soul, in a "psychiatric ward"

It seemed the choices were, either call Life Line (which she did) or 000 - not there yet, and don't want to get there!

What can she do to get some effective intervention before it goes that far?

I have cared for a partner through cancer and unfortunately she did not make it (15 years ago) but in that process the patient and carer had clear paths to follow although you never knew the outcome

But in my friend's case - right now - how does she find the path to follow to intervene in this situation where her son's OCD is dictating terms and will cause him harm, and how can she get help to reverse this rapidly escalating trend?


Re: How can a carer get help to intervene to avoid consequences for their loved who will or cannot "self treat"?

Hi Somewear,


Welcome to the forums.

It sounds like a desparate situation & it sounds like you're a really great friend reaching out for help.


Here are a few referrals you may find helpful, some you may have heard of, but hopefully there's some new ones too;


- OCD Stop is an online psychological treatment program targeting OCD:

- You mentioned that your friend's son has seen a psychiatrist, but have they seen a psychologist? They are quiet different in their approaches (eg: Psychologists don't prescribe medication). The Australian Psychological Society have a directory so you can search by area & issue - it will show psychologist who specialise in the specified issue -


- is a website for 16-25 year olds. It has forums similar to this & also stories about how other young people managed their tough times and/or mental illness. For example, this story is about a young woman with OCD. Sometimes such stories can help people feel less alone and help them see that management of the illness is possible. also has online forums like these ones, except they are for 16-25 year olds. I have seen some conversations in there by people with OCD, maybe he will find that helpful too?

Are you said, it's hard to make someone to do what is asked or prescribed to them by a psychiatrist. In regards to medication, different meds work for different people in different ways. I'm sure it's been stressed to him the benefits medication can have, but it may very well be the case that the side effects are too much. However, this gives a starting point for the psychiatrist to tweak and adjust medication based on his feedback about his experience on the medication. If he does decide to take the medication, it's important he keeps a log/diary to record his experiences (it might even be a score of a scale on 1 - 10 of how well he feels and/or a list of side effects)

The other important element in this equation is to ensure your friend is looking after herself too. I'm not sure which stat you're in, but there's an ARAFMI (mental health carers Australia) in each state (or Mind Australia in VIC) who are amazing and can offer support and advice for the carer (& the person they are caring for). I can't recommend that enough.


Hospitalisation is not a bad thing either. A few members of these forums have sought intervention and hospitalisation for the person they care for and often find it to be very useful. Here is one example by "Jo"

Like I said, it sounds like you've been an amazing support to your friend - it's great to see there's such kind hearted people out there.


Re: How can a carer get help to intervene to avoid consequences for their loved who will or cannot "self treat"?

Hi Somewear,

Sorry I can't suggest much to help, but I think you are a wonderful friend (most people run and hide when someone they know is dealing with stuff like this. What your friend is going through must be terrifying. The only thing I can say is don't stop looking until you've found the right help for him, you will find it.


I also relate to your friend's terror of what a psych ward might do to her already fragile son, I remember battling to keep my brother from being admitted when he was 19. To be honest I'm no longer so sure it was the best thing for him that he wasn't admitted. I know some people find it incredibly helpful and others don't.

Take care.

Kind regards,


Re: How can a carer get help to intervene to avoid consequences for their loved who will or cannot "self treat"?

Hi somewear,

I have read your post and I thought I would send a quick note to see how you are going. Did you manage to find any help or maybe contact some of the organisations NikNik suggested? I know ARAFMI (in each state) is a really good place to start for anyone who is caring for someone with a mental illness.

Hope you are going OK, and please let us know how things are panning out for you and your friend.

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