OCD and Career Choices – Finding the Right Fit for You

Posted by tlashkari on Jul 31, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can complicate your work life, but with some insight and planning, it’s possible to find a career that fits perfectly with how your OCD manifests itself. In fact, the right work conditions and career choice can even offer therapeutic benefits for some OCD sufferers. Because OCD symptoms range from mild to debilitating and manifest themselves in so many ways, it’s impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all career path. But looking at how your OCD affects you individually will often give valuable insights into the right job for you. Any career counselor will
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Can Web and Smartphone Apps Help OCD Sufferers?

Posted by tlashkari on Jul 30, 2014

Can your smartphone treat your OCD? Experts ranging from the Mayo Clinic to individual therapists think it just might. A handful of smartphone and web-based apps have been developed to reinforce Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and some are tied to emerging therapies like Attention Retraining (AR). While Beyond OCD does not endorse or recommend any of these applications, we acknowledge that technology will play an ever-increasing role in OCD therapy. If you see an app you think might be of help to you, we encourage you to discuss it with your therapist first. Your therapist may find that one or
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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