World’s Largest Resource for OCD Comes to Chicago

19th Annual International OCD Foundation Conference brings together individuals with OCD, their families, and world renowned experts

CHICAGO, Ill. (July 27, 2012) — More than 1,000 people will attend the 19th Annual International OCD Foundation Conference, this weekend in Chicago. To be held July 27–29, 2012, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, the conference is the country’s only event dedicated to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders.

The ICODF Annual Conference is truly unique in its aim to bring together both mental health professionals and OCD experts from around the world, and individuals with OCD and their family members, to all learn about the latest advances in OCD research and treatment in one large event.

At the Conference, children and teens with OCD often meet other young people with OCD for the first time, while their parents find support and camaraderie with other families. Therapists receive professional training in OCD and related disorders through the Advanced Behaviorial Treatment Training Institute held at the Conference. And individuals with OCD have the opportunity to meet with the country’s leading experts and researchers, and also participate in programs that can jumpstart their treatment.

“OCD is a misunderstood and complicated mental disorder,” says Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the IOCDF. “As so many mental health programs face budget cuts or financial strain, we bring our resources across the country each year to build new support systems, help families find effective treatment, and change lives.”

The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) is the nation’s leading advocate for the OCD community. Founded in 1986, the ICODF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and professionals about OCD and related disorders, in order to raise awareness and improve the quality of treatment available. Obsessive compulsive disorder affects some 3 million adults in the United States, and as many as a half million children and teens. Though OCD has no cure, its symptoms — which include obsessions and compulsions so severe they interfere with individuals everyday lives — can be effectively managed through such treatments as cognitive behavioral therapies, including exposure and response prevention (ERP) and medication.

This year, the IOCDF is also excited to partner with Chicago’s own The Second City to host “Improv for Anxiety,” an innovative 3-hour workshop and discussion on how improv can be an invaluable recovery tool for people with anxiety disorders, such as OCD. This event will kick off the conference events on the evening of Thursday, July 26th.

Other program highlights include:

  • Presentations about the latest in OCD research, including a study by the IOCDF Genetics Collaborative due to be published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry later this month, about the likely genetic causes of OCD.
  • Art therapy, cooking with the hotel pastry chef, a karaoke contest and fashion show, and a “Teen Success Panel” about the challenges of navigating adolescence with OCD, are among the many programs at the conference geared toward kids and teens. These hands-on, interactive workshops will help children learn new skills to fight OCD and have access to treatment from the country’s leading OCD experts, while socializing with other kids their age.
  • Unique, and often-therapeutic, social events for adults with OCD and their families, such as Ping Pong 4 OCD, the Improv for Anxiety workshop, family support groups, and even a 5-mile Run along Lake Michigan.
  • Other support groups held throughout the event focus on a variety of topics including: compulsive hoarding, scrupulosity, teens and young adults, parents of children and adults with OCD, older adults with OCD, and OCD recovery.
  • For the first time ever, this year’s conference will also feature a half-day program conducted in Spanish to offer treatment and support for OCD and anxiety disorders to the Hispanic community. For more information, visit

Registration for the conference is open to all and continuing education credits are available to qualified professionals. For more information and to register visit or call 617-973-5801.