Talking OCD & School with Dr. Jan Weiner

How does OCD interfere with education, and what can parents and students do about it?

Key Takeaways:
  • Dr. Jan Weiner is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City.
  • In this video, she discusses OCD's impact on schooling. For more info on Dr. Weiner, please visit:
  • OCD3 is a web series that brings professional perspectives to the OCD community so sufferers can make healthy decisions and lead better lives.

Read the full transcript below:

1) What are some challenges for someone in school with OCD?

Having OCD and going to college can be a significant challenge. You’re leaving home for the first time and you’re in a new environment. There is a new set of stressors. You’re now functioning more independently than you ever have. If you happen to have OCD, an increase in that stress can bring an increase in your symptoms. Often when people make the transition to college, they feel an uptick in anxiety and OCD symptoms, which can present challenges when you’re trying to get through schoolwork.

2) When is a good time to tell a teacher or professor you suffer from OCD?

If you’re in college and suffering from OCD and it is impairing your academic performance, talk to your therapist about it. Make sure that you have a psychologist that you’re working with. They can write a letter for you that doesn’t necessarily state your symptoms, but can get you extra time or allowances if you feel comfortable discussing them with a professor.

3) What are some tips for staying productive?

First off, if you’ve had any ERP experience, do your exposures. Take a bathroom or food break, and incorporate your exposures into those pockets of time. Doing so will give you a little push throughout the day and help preempt some of your intrusive thoughts.

Another thing you can do is practice mindfulness techniques. Accept your thoughts and let them come in and out. Don’t try to control them or push them away, just allow them to be present.

4) What if someone with OCD can’t get past their spikes?

If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts in college, one thing you can do is go on the IOCDF’s website or Psychology Today to see if there are any cognitive behavioral therapy practitioners in your area. Look for those with OCD experience and ERP techniques. Another tip is talking to your therapist about ways to keep their therapy consistent while you’re away. Or, ways that they can help you transition to a local therapist or new support network.

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