On what level may we (or may we not) intervene with OCD sufferers when they are not related to you in any way?
I am referring to a sizable demographic of religious OCD sufferers, who don't necessarily know what OCD is, and surely have not been diagnosed or treated for their anxiety disorder.
Within the religious context and practice it's very easy to spot OCD sufferers. At Synagogue they may spend more time than any other congregant pronouncing the words of prayer carefully or repeating the words many times. I'm in no way referring to the congregants that spend time truly meditating on the words with proper intent, or repeating words that have been pronounced correctly. I am referring to practices that catch the average person's attention. Repeating words 10 or 20 times, starting over from the beginning of a particular prayer repeatedly, or creating buzzing or clicking sounds in the misguided attempt to "pronounce the words properly". To the unfamiliar eye, this may appear to be religious fervor and zest. Unfortunately it's far from this, the sufferer is struggling with compulsions, intrusive thoughts, fear, and worry.
These behaviors can be treated. The question is how to approach the suffering individual.
Whether or not religion breeds or fosters OCD behavior is a separate argument, but a large number of religious sufferers simply believe they are acting in accordance with their religion. By repeating "Poseach Es Yadecha" in the "Ashrei" prayer 10 or 20 times for example, or repeatedly washing their hands, to get it "right" for "Netilat Yadayim" the sufferer believes he or she is merely following "Halacha" more strictly than anyone else.
On what level may we intervene to try and help the sufferer? Can we make them aware that their suffering is unnecessary and can be corrected? Surely outright confrontation wouldn't be advisable, What would be some other methods of intervention (or confrontation) that conform with "Halacha"?