Extreme Accounts Obscure OCD Reality and Hamper Treatment

Posted by tlashkari on Jun 25, 2014

There’s a saying in the newspaper business: “If it bleeds, it leads.” It’s a clever way of saying that sensational headlines and stories attract the most reader interest. While that’s true for the most part, putting that sort of filter on the news doesn’t do much to help understand complex issues that may underlie a story. This becomes particularly troublesome when it leads to misunderstanding serious issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). For every sensational story about extreme behavior such as hoarding or other pathological actions (most of which aren
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Family-Based Therapy Helps Young OCD Sufferers

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 29, 2014

Children 5-8 years old can benefit from therapies used for older children and adults, according to a study by the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center in Rhode Island. Researchers at three academic medical centers studied 127 children between five and eight years old diagnosed with OCD in 14-week randomized studies over a five-year period. Each subject received either Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or relaxation therapy (RT) in a family-based setting in which family members were taught and applied the techniques used in each discipline. While CBT and RT are widely used for older patients, the traditional approach for children
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Making Peace with OCD

Posted by tlashkari on May 21, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic neurobiological condition that has no known cure, but like many other chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes, it can be effectively managed with proper treatment. In fact, successful treatment of OCD is common and most people with it are able to live normal lives. The keys to living with OCD fall into three general categories: Understanding, Treatment and Managing. Understanding OCD starts with knowing what it is, diagnosing it accurately and learning about the special needs of OCD sufferers. While this understanding is crucial for the individual sufferer, its need also extends to
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Talking to a Loved One About Their OCD

Posted by tlashkari on May 01, 2014

We often refer to persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as “sufferers,” and suffering is, indeed, a major symptom of OCD. If the sufferer is a person close to you, a person you love, simply letting them know you care can be a big part of helping them through their struggles. To communicate sympathetically with an OCD sufferer, it is important to understand what OCD is and how it affects the person you care about. There are several sources for gaining a better understanding of OCD and its treatment. Beyond OCD is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing OCD
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Teen Anxiety and OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 01, 2014

If anyone tells you their teenage years were anxiety-free, chances are their memory is less than perfect. The years between 12 and 20 are often so filled with angst and self-doubt that being miserable is almost a rite of passage. But does teenage anxiety lead to a predisposition toward obsessive and compulsive behavior? Fortunately, it does not. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a neurobiological disorder caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Without it, OCD doesn’t exist. While many teenagers and younger children will have rituals and superstitions, they generally outgrow them. The time to be concerned is when those behaviors
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OCD and Excessive Cleaning

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 01, 2014

The term “germophobe” gets tossed around a lot, but when does an understandable desire to avoid unhealthy situations become a problem? Mental health professionals become concerned when that desire manifests itself in patterns of thought and behavior that become ritualistic or interfere with everyday functioning. In the Neil Simon comedy classic “The Odd Couple,” two middle-age roommates with very different attitudes toward cleanliness were pitted against one another. Sportswriter Oscar Madison was a consummate slob and his friend Felix Unger was a “neat freak.” But was he “OCD”? No. Felix had a
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What’s the Insurance Coverage Outlook for OCD Treatment?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 01, 2014

There’s no question that the health insurance universe is changing. So what does that mean for OCD sufferers and their families? Will the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) change the landscape? Will access to care be easier? Cheaper? Better? Worse? It seems like the best answer to those questions is, Maybe. The ACA is full of promise for both mental and physical health patients. Mental health coverage is mandated to greatly expand and the Act includes millions of extra dollars for treatment and prevention of mental illnesses. It says you can’t be denied coverage
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Magical Thinking - A Documentary

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 26, 2014

   
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Stress and OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 20, 2014

Can everyday stress cause OCD? No, but OCD is an anxiety disorder, and stress can add anxiety that contributes to the severity of diagnosed OCD. Stress is bad for your health. It is implicated in life-threatening conditions as well as a host of other problems from nail-biting to hair loss. A study in the British Medical Journal suggests that even low-level stress can increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke by 20%. The anxiety produced by obsessive thoughts and behavior add to the stress of everyday life. Beyond the harm stress causes anyone, its effects can be even more harmful
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Give Your OCD Partner a Special Valentine’s Day Gift

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 11, 2014

As Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, one of the best ways to show your love for a partner who suffers with OCD is a clear show of empathy and support. Flowers and candy are nice, and we certainly don’t suggest you forgo the usual Valentine’s treats, but why not show your ongoing commitment with gifts that last beyond Valentine’s Day, too? Beyond OCD is a non-profit organization committed to offering OCD sufferers and their loved ones the latest help and information on the disorder. Among our resources is an extensive book list to
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You Have OCD – Now What?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jan 29, 2014

If you think it’s odd to congratulate someone on a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, understand that going through the screening and testing required for an accurate diagnosis is a big first step on the path toward treating and managing OCDt. So, congratulations! You’re moving toward a better and more productive life.  You’re not on the road alone, either. It’s estimated that 1 in every 40 adults in the U.S. suffers from OCD, and the World Health Organization ranks OCD as one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability for individuals between 15
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Federal Funding May Help Diagnosis and Treatment of OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jan 20, 2014

On December 10, 2013, the White House announced that $100 million will be made available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities. The funds will be allocated by two cabinet-level departments, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture, as part of separate programs designed to help reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illnesses as well as improving diagnosis and treatment. The $50 million in HHS funds comes through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services. The centers can use the funds to hire new
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Federal Funding May Help Diagnosis and Treatment of OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jan 20, 2014

On December 10, 2013, the White House announced that $100 million will be made available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities. The funds will be allocated by two cabinet-level departments, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture, as part of separate programs designed to help reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illnesses as well as improving diagnosis and treatment. The $50 million in HHS funds comes through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services. The centers can use the funds to hire new
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Study Reinforces Value of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to Treat OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Dec 19, 2013

One of the most powerful weapons in the fight against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, for short. The benefits of CBT were shown in a recent report in the September 2013 issue of JAMA Psychiatry, the professional journal of the American Medical Association. In the report, a form of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) was found to be nearly four times as effective as antipsychotic medications in reducing the symptoms of OCD. The study showed that 80% of OCD sufferers reported a reduction in symptoms with 43% saying that their symptoms fell to a minimal level
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OCD and Holiday Stress

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Dec 10, 2013

The holiday season can be a time of joy and relaxation with time off,  parties, and reunions with friends and family. But the bustle and clutter of the holidays can also bring stress, and OCD sufferers and their loved ones need to anticipate triggering situations and take steps to deal with them. A good place to start is by approaching the season with a realistic assessment of the issues that may need to be faced. Look at situations that might trigger the disorder and try to plan around them if you can. If you can’t, be prepared
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OCD and the Workplace

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 26, 2013

Some people think that being diagnosed with OCD carries with it a lifetime sentence of under-employment and dependency. Fortunately, with a more enlightened workplace and advances in diagnosis and treatment options, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Of course the degree to which OCD will impact your employability and work choices depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. It also depends on the particular employer. While it’s illegal to discriminate against someone for a medical condition who is otherwise qualified for a job, there are ways an employer can make life unpleasant
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As OCD Understanding Grows, Choosing the Right Therapist is Important

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 26, 2013

Behavioral Science is a rapidly-evolving field, and nowhere are the changes coming faster than in the understanding of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), what they are and are not, and how to treat them. The American Psychiatric Association published the fifth edition of its Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM-5) earlier in 2013, culminating a 14-year process of revision. The manual in­cludes a new chapter about Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders and the increasing evidence that some disorders are related to one another and are distinct from other anxiety disorders. That distinction helps clinicians better identify and treat individuals suffering from various
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Young Adults Face OCD Challenges on BBC Documentary

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 07, 2013

Five years ago Seattle therapist Pete Weiss developed Camp DCO in partnership with two other OCD specialists, psychologists Dr. Neil Kirkpatrick and Dr. Travis Osborne. Seeing the success his outdoor programs had with patients suffering from behavioral disorders, a production company approached Weiss and Osborne about making a 2-part documentary that would follow the experiences of six young adult OCD sufferers from England as they went through a week-long treatment course at Camp DCO. The producers recruited the participants, aged 17-23 and all suffering from OCD in various manifestations, to be part of a group that would fly to Seattle
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OCD and Eating Disorders

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Oct 15, 2013

While eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia share many characteristics with OCD, they are not the same. Diagnosis becomes even more complex when an individual exhibits symptoms of both. Misdiagnosis is often a matter of confusing behavior with motivation.  Both OCD and eating disorder sufferers can behave in ways are outwardly similar, but the differences lie in why the individual behaves the way they do. A person with an eating disorder is typically focused on how eating affects their self-image. People with eating disorders typically either avoid eating (Anorexia) or regurgitate food eaten shortly after consuming it (Bulimia)
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OCD and Compulsive Hair-Pulling (Trichotillomania)

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Oct 01, 2013

Compulsive hair-pulling, or trichotillomania (TTM), is an impulse control disorder that can be triggered by stress or depression. It usually appears in young people ages 9-13, but can be present as early as infancy and can persist throughout adulthood if not treated. While it lies on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders and shares some clinical features, TTM is different from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in its symptoms, neural function, and cognitive profile. OCD sufferers are aware of their behavior and find it unpleasant and disturbing, but some trichotillomania patients engage in the hair-pulling unconsciously, and some may even get reinforcement
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OCD - CAN YOU KNOW TOO MUCH?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Oct 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   When someone is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, education is essential. Understanding what the disorder entails and how to best treat it are key components to recovery. The more we know, the better prepared we will be to fight it, right? Well, not always. As we know, OCD can be very sneaky, and sometimes this quest for knowledge can go awry. In this excellent post written by Stacey Kuhl Wochner, LCSW, Ms.Wochner explains that sometimes OCD sufferers (many who have had previous success with Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy) begin to feel that therapy is not
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A New Patient’s Guide to Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Sep 17, 2013

Congratulations! You’ve resolved to fight the disruptions of OCD, bringing it to its knees. One of the weapons you’ll likely employ is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT. Here’s what CBT is and what you can expect from it. CBT is a special kind of therapy that uses two proven techniques: Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Cognitive Therapy (CT). ERP gradually exposes you to situations that trigger OCD symptoms.   The therapist controls the exposure and helps you learn to respond to those symptoms differently. As the therapist works through controlled exposure
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Back to School

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Sep 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   Last year at this time I wrote a post about Taking OCD to College. It focused on establishing a good support system for OCD sufferers who are embarking on this exciting, but often anxiety-provoking journey. I discussed how important communication is with all school personnel, from the Dean of Students to teachers. The more support the better. But what happens when the support you deserve, and are entitled to, is not afforded you? What if one of your teachers thinks OCD is no big deal, or not a real illness? How do you deal with a
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Insights Into Identifying OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Aug 27, 2013

Too often Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is used as a catch-all diagnosis when the problem is something completely different. Misdiagnosing OCD can have serious consequences when a treatable problem is overlooked. OCD is a neurobiological disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions that take up at least an hour a day and cause significant distress to the person suffering from OCD. Taken separately, obsessions and compulsions can be symptoms of other disorders, and those disorders often do not include distress or remorse. They can include behavior that is self-destructive such as compulsive gambling, or even behavior that threatens harm to others.
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OCD in Families—Is it Nature or Nurture?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Aug 19, 2013

“OCD runs in my family.” It’s a statement many of us have heard. Recent research suggests it may be true. What remains unclear is whether it’s a result of a genetic predisposition or a learned behavior. OCD has attracted a lot of research in the past several decades, but its causes remain unclear. As a psychological condition, it’s harder to pin down than, for instance, hair color (genetic) or pneumonia (infectious). Several studies have shown that OCD can cluster in family groups. But why it does is still open to debate. The
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OCD and Teen’s Privacy

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Aug 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   When my son Dan diagnosed himself with OCD at the age of seventeen, he came to me and my husband for help. We brought him to our local pediatrician who confirmed the diagnosis and referred him to a local therapist (who we later found out knew nothing about treating OCD, but that story is for a different post). Dan never shared details of his OCD with us. We knew little to nothing about his obsessions, and because the majority of his compulsions were mental, we knew almost nothing about them either. As I began to educate
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Common Myths and Misconceptions About OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jul 29, 2013

“Oh she’s so OCD!” How many times have you heard someone say that when they mean an individual is particular about things? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) isn’t about a distaste for clutter. Nor is it necessarily about compulsive organization, impulsive behavior, or an inability to focus on external matters. In fact, it’s often just the opposite. OCD is a disorder that has a neurobiological basis. It affects people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds equally. In the United States, about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children have OCD. And according
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Helping those with OCD: Is it love or is it enabling?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jul 22, 2013

It’s difficult to watch someone suffer, especially someone you love. You want to help, but you don’t want to make things worse in the process. The good news is there are ways to help an OCD sufferer, and they can make a difference. The first thing to do is learn if it really is OCD. Many disorders that appear to be OCD to the lay person are not. The only way to be sure is to have the individual diagnosed by a professional. That may be a school counselor, a social services agency, or a therapist.
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Get FREE Screening for OCD and Other Facts

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jul 02, 2013

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been observed for over a thousand years, and for most of that time it was misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated. It’s only in the past few decades that OCD has been properly classified as a treatable medical disorder and extensive study conducted on effective ways to treat it. It’s important to understand that not all medical professionals are trained to diagnose OCD, and even fewer are qualified to treat it. Too often, OCD is used as a catchall diagnosis for behaviors that exhibit some similar symptoms. Not all obsessions are functions of OCD,
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OCD: The Road to Recovery

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jul 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   When my son Dan was first diagnosed with OCD, his longtime pediatrician recommended he see a therapist. So off Dan went to the most popular adolescent psychologist in town. Dan really liked him and continued to meet with this therapist weekly for four months until he left for college. What we didn’t realize at the time was that this amounted to sixteen sessions of the wrong type of therapy, and Dan’s OCD was now worse than ever. If he hadn’t gone off to college, he would’ve continued indefinitely
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You Are Not Alone

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 31, 2013

by Janet Singer   In so many ways, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a lonely disease. Fear of contamination or causing harm to others are just two examples of the many obsessions that might force OCD sufferers to withdraw from people, including those they care about. Compulsions also have the potential to encourage isolation as they might be so time-consuming that there is simply no time or energy left to interact with others. When OCD sufferers do attempt to socialize, they might spend most of that time trying to hide their compulsions and pretending everything is okay. It can be exhausting. Even
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Cognitive Behavior Therapy Offers Hope for OCD Sufferers

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 30, 2013

For decades, even centuries, millions of people in the US and elsewhere in the world suffered in silence as they endured intrusive thoughts and fears, often subject to ridicule and misunderstanding. As physicians and therapists began to understand their disorder  better, they often turned to medication to treat it to reduce the sufferers’ anxiety. While anti-anxiety drugs are often prescribed and can be a valuable part of treatment, behavioral therapists today are turning to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to help sufferers confront their obsessions and put them in a more rational context. When persistent thoughts and fears intrude
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Purely Obsessive: Is It a Diagnosis or a Distraction?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 20, 2013

Is it possible to be obsessive without being compulsive? For a number of years, persons studying Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) raised that question when subjects who were diagnosed as obsessive did not exhibit overt compulsive behaviors such as repetitive hand-washing, checking door locks, or other visible actions. Further study, however, has suggested that purely obsessive behavior, or “Pure O” as it used to be called, is very rare, if it exists at all. As a clinical disorder, OCD is marked by obsessions that cause extreme anxiety. While this may appear to suggest  the diagnosis of “Pure
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Getting Help for Our Children

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 06, 2013

by Janet Singer   I follow a lot of blogs written by OCD sufferers. I find them interesting and educational, and they often provide me with a firsthand glimpse into the world of someone who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. As a parent of an OCD sufferer, I am particularly drawn to posts that deal with family matters. These blogs are written by adults of all ages, and many of them acknowledge having had OCD since they were children. They wonder, sometimes bitterly, why their parents didn’t seek out help once they realized something was wrong. Even if they
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College Stress Can Worsen OCD Symptoms

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 26, 2013

Stress is a major trigger for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms and few events in a young person’s path to adulthood are more stressful than going off to college. Fortunately, there are things an OCD-suffering teen can do to help minimize, or even eliminate, its effects. Anticipating OCD triggers is a good first step. At the minimum, college presents a whole new set of challenges, even if the student lives at home. The familiar routine of going to school and returning at the same set time each day is gone. The safety net of a school administration that
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Recognizing OCD in Your Child

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 16, 2013

Kids can be downright confusing. Trying to make sense out of their behaviors can test even the most patient and understanding parents. When does the fear of the monster under the bed or worrying that daddy is never coming back go from normal childhood anxiety to a serious problem.  If obsessions and compulsions begin to interfere with your child’s functioning in relationships with their family, friends, or schooling, they may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). About one child in 100 develops OCD. Their brains process information differently from other children, resulting in uncontrollable worries and doubts (obsessions) that
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Spring Into Action

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   April brings the promise of spring, as the earth awakens and comes back to life. While it is a time of rebirth, many of those stuck in the vicious cycle of obsessive-compulsive disorder are so consumed by their illness that they can’t appreciate, or perhaps even notice, this beautiful time of year. It doesn’t have to be this way. Unlike so many other illnesses, OCD is treatable. I will even go so far as to say those with obsessive-compulsive disorder are lucky, as they have successful treatment options to pursue. Even if
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Study Shows OCD Higher in New Mothers

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 01, 2013

Did I turn the baby on its back to sleep? Will I know what to do if she starts choking? What if I trip and fall while I’m holding him? Did I get the bottles clean enough? Some new mothers, especially first-time moms, constantly worry about how-tos and what-ifs. Is it just a normal reaction caused by mothering instincts, or is it a sign of a more serious underlying problem? Researchers at Northwestern University wanted to know. They recruited 461 women who delivered babies at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and tested them for anxiety, depression and OCD two weeks after
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HBO Program Offers Rare Look at OCD Reality

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Mar 26, 2013

When the entertainment media sees OCD, it sees comedy. A more accurate portrayal would be a dark drama by Alfred Hitchcock. That’s why the recent HBO episode of “Girls” in which Hanna (portrayed by Lena Dunham) confronts her OCD is remarkable. Rather than playing for cheap laughs, Dunham (who besides being the lead actor in the series is also its creator, director, writer, and executive producer) offers a realistic look at OCD, its causes, its manifestations, and its treatment. As can happen in real life, Hanna had her disorder under control until a “triggering event
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Speak Out

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Mar 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   Have you noticed that more celebrities than ever seem to be announcing they have obsessive-compulsive disorder?  While normally I would applaud their openness, I am concerned after reading details of some of these admissions, that they do not give an accurate portrayal of what OCD really is. While some of these stars undoubtedly suffer from the disorder, others admit to not having been officially diagnosed. It seems to me that OCD has become somewhat of a “trendy” disorder, and this misrepresentation of the illness can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, OCD is
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OCD and FAME are Not Mutually Exclusive

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 28, 2013

Her name is Joanne Rowling and she struggled as a teen with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). You might know her as J.K. Rowling, mega success as an author of the Harry Potter series. In 2000, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the fastest-selling book in history. The seventh and final installment in the Harry Potter series was the largest ever pre-ordered book at Barnes + Nobel, Borders and Amazon.com in 2007. She is now ranked as Britain’s 13th wealthiest woman, richer even than the queen. Having OCD does not preclude becoming a success. Rowling became aware of
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What’s a Parent To Do?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   Enabling OCD adds fuel to the fire Being a parent is hard. We all want what’s best for our children, and we want them to be happy. Sometimes these two basic truths collide. Our three-year-old wants a toy she sees in the store. She already has too many toys, and needs to learn she can’t have everything she wants. We know the right thing to do is say, “No.” So we do, and of course a tantrum follows, but soon everything returns to normal. We did what was best for
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Making Sense of the Senseless

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jan 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   Mental illness stigma and seeking help I, like everyone else, am still trying to somehow make sense of the horrific massacre that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We want to know why, because if we know why, then we have something to focus on, something to fix. Once we do that we can move on, confident that nothing like this will ever happen again. Oh, if only it were that easy.  But it rarely is, especially in this unimaginable scenario we are dealing with. Easy answers? No. Any answers? Who knows? At this writing,
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OCD and Thankfulness

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Dec 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   Moving beyond obsessive-compulsive disorder Here we are, in the midst of another holiday season, and it’s at this time that I usually find myself taking stock of the year that has almost passed; there is always so much to reflect upon and be thankful for. Most recently, I am thankful that my husband and I were able to host a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at our home, and even more thankful that our son Dan wasn’t there. Yes, you read it right. I am thankful that Dan was not with us for Thanksgiving.
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OCD and Uncertainty…for Everyone

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   “The doubting disease” and the ironic quest for control As many of you might already know, obsessive-compulsive disorder is often referred to as “the doubting disease.”  This is because doubt and uncertainty fuel the fire for OCD, as sufferers feel the need to have total control over everything in their lives; to be certain that everyone and everything are okay. While it is human nature to seek answers, those with OCD take it too far. They are obsessed with being certain; certain that everything looks right, or is completely safe, or
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Teens and OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Oct 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   “Normal” teen behavior might be anything but I think we can all agree that once a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder is made, it is important to get the right help as soon as possible. A therapist who specializes in treating the disorder using Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy is the way to go. The path to follow is clear. But what is not always clear is whether or not you or a loved one even has OCD. In particular, if you are the parent of a teenager, it may be hard to distinguish &ldquo
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Taking OCD to College

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Sep 04, 2012

by Janet Singer   Build a Support System of Therapists, Academic Leaders and Family With students heading off to college this month, I can’t help but think back to when my son Dan was a freshman, fifteen hundred miles from home. He had been diagnosed with OCD about four months before leaving for school, and the therapist he’d been seeing assured us that “Dan was fine,” and would need no accommodations or additional therapy while away. Fast forward seven months, and I had a son so disabled by the disorder that he couldn&rsquo
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Beyond OCD: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Aug 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   Where There's a Will, There's a Way While OCD is a neurologically based anxiety disorder with the potential to destroy lives, the good news is it’s treatable. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy, is the treatment of choice for those with the disorder. ERP Therapy is difficult, as it forces sufferers to face their fears head-on, and then requires them to refrain from performing compulsions. This process initially evokes intense anxiety, and this anxiety is one of the main reasons sufferers postpone, or even avoid treatment. I believe
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Beyond OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jul 09, 2012

by Janet Singer   What's in a Name? OCD Chicago recently changed its name to Beyond OCD to better reflect its current scope and mission. I love the new name, as it conjures up a vision of moving past obsessive-compulsive disorder into a life of freedom not dictated by the illness. Beyond OCD conveys hope, and to me, there’s nothing more inspiring than that. Mental health stigma This name change brings to light how powerful words can be. It works both ways, however, and, unfortunately, stigma has been wrapped around so many words for so long that
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Getting Past OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   OCD and Transitions May, a month of transition for many, is upon us. In my own family, we have two upcoming graduations: high school for my younger daughter, and college for my son Dan. While my husband and I are very proud of both of them, Dan’s graduation is especially poignant, as during his struggle with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, his strong desire to complete his education at his dream college was a powerful motivator to get well. Now here he is, achieving the goal he set for himself. What a wonderful reason to celebrate!
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Curing OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   Is OCD Curable? When sufferers are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, one of the first questions they might want answered is, “Is it curable?”  This question certainly was at the top of my list when my son Dan was diagnosed with severe OCD five years ago. We received the standard answer: While OCD is not curable, it is highly treatable. At the time, my son was almost completely debilitated by severe OCD, so “treatable” was good enough for me. With the proper therapy, Dan recovered, and his therapist now classifies his OCD
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OCD Therapy

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Mar 03, 2012

by Janet Singer   Recovery Apathy At the age of nineteen, my son Dan spent nine weeks of his summer at a world-renowned residential treatment program for those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. We didn’t force him to go; in fact it was just the opposite. He couldn’t wait to get there as he was determined to free himself of OCD, which at the time was severe. Exposure Response Prevention Therapy It all made sense to me. My son had a debilitating illness that was fortunately treatable. So off he went to get treatment. That was
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Helping OCD sufferers

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   How Do We Help Those We Love? As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of our thoughts turn to celebrating love. But what about those of us whose loved ones are suffering? How we can we help our spouses, parents, children, or friends who are struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? When Someone You Love Has OCD  gives practical suggestions for helping loved ones. First and foremost, we need to learn all we can about OCD. Knowledge is power, and the more we understand this often confusing disorder, the better position we will be in to
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Conquering OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Jan 03, 2012

by Janet Singer   New Year’s Resolutions: We Need a Plan I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. The few times I actually made them I gave up by the end of January, with only frustration and a sense of failure to show for my efforts (or lack thereof). I think the problem is I never really thought these resolutions through. They were just proclamations: “I’m going to eat better. I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to worry less.” I resolved to do
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OCD and Holiday Giving

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Dec 01, 2011

by Janet Singer   “I will never forget that feeling of being completely lost and alone, not knowing who to listen to or where to turn for help.”   This quote is from my first post on Connections, where I talk about my son Dan’s journey through severe OCD. Though this nightmare transpired almost four years ago, the fear I felt back then is still palpable, and is what fuels my advocacy for OCD awareness and proper treatment. If you’re reading this, you are likely either an OCD sufferer or care about someone with
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Recognizing OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 01, 2011

by Janet Singer   Acknowledging OCD Symptoms is the First Step Let’s say you wake up one morning and your leg hurts. You hobble around on it for a few days, but the pain gets worse. You tell yourself you’ll give it “one more day” and if it’s not better, you’ll call your doctor. Most of us can relate to this scenario where we’ve had a medical issue, we’ve kept an eye on it for a little while, and then we sought help, and a diagnosis.
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Fighting OCD - No More Secrets

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Oct 03, 2011

by Janet Singer    No More Secrets With the help of the Internet, my son Dan diagnosed himself with OCD at the age of seventeen. He had known something was wrong for at least a few years, but never told anyone. Wanting to get help before he left for college that coming fall, Dan mustered the courage to tell me his secret. We were in the car when he anxiously announced he had something really important to tell me. But he just couldn’t seem to get the words out. “Just say it, Dan. You’ll
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OCD Connections

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Sep 06, 2011

Connections: A New Beyond OCD Blog Welcome to Connections, Beyond OCD ’s new blog! My name is Janet Singer and I will be blogging about anything and everything to do with OCD -- obsessive compulsive disorder. My posts will include current topics of interest to OCD sufferers and their families, and I also hope to connect with readers by sharing my own thoughts and experiences. So whether you are an OCD sufferer or you care about someone with OCD, this blog is for you. Severe OCD Three and a half years ago I flew fifteen hundred miles to be
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