OCD in Arab Americans

Arab Americans are a diverse group of people that include immigrants and refugees from many different countries of origin, as well as people born in the US who have Arab ancestry. Arab Americans practice a wide range of religions, including Catholicism, Islam, and Orthodox Christianity, and some have no religious affiliation. Arab Americans comprise less than 1% of the overall US population, and there is limited research on Arab Americans with OCD. Research about the general mental health of Arab Americans has found that:

  • Many Arab Americans have experienced acts of racism, like discrimination and stereotyping, which can affect mental health. [1]
  • Research has found elevated rates of depression and anxiety in Arab Americans, and higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than are found in the overall population. [2]
  • Arab Americans come from a range of backgrounds and unique experiences, some of which may affect mental health. For example, Arab American refugees may struggle more with their mental health than other Arab immigrants or US-born Arab Americans. [3]
  • When Arab Americans are in distress, they may look to a trusted person like a family doctor or family member for help1 instead of seeking specialized mental health care. Some may also engage in prayer or consult a religious leader as a way to cope with distress. [4] [5]

While family, community, and spirituality can provide vital support for people struggling with OCD, it is essential to receive care from a mental health professional trained to deliver interventions like CBT and medication. A mental health professional can also help clients keep these relationships and behaviors from becoming a part of compulsive rituals so that they can be maintained as healthy sources of support. Click here to learn more about how OCD is treated, and to find clinicians in your area.

 

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Sources:

  • [1] Moradi, B., & Hasan, N. T. (2004). Arab American persons' reported experiences of discrimination and mental health: The mediating role of personal control. Journal of counseling psychology, 51(4), 418.
  • [2] Rippy, A. E., & Newman, E. (2006). Perceived religious discrimination and its relationship to anxiety and paranoia among Muslim Americans. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 1(1), 5-20.
  • [3] Pampati, S., Alattar, Z., Cordoba, E., Tariq, M., & de Leon, C. M. (2018). Mental health outcomes among Arab refugees, immigrants, and US born Arab Americans in Southeast Michigan: a cross-sectional study. BMC psychiatry, 18(1), 1-8.
  • [4] Aloud, N., & Rathur, A. (2009). Factors affecting attitudes toward seeking and using formal mental health and psychological services among Arab Muslim populations. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 4(2), 79-103.
  • [5] Aloud, N., & Rathur, A. (2009). Factors affecting attitudes toward seeking and using formal mental health and psychological services among Arab Muslim populations. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 4(2), 79-103.