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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Talking to a Loved One About Their OCD

Posted by tlashkari on May 05, 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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