Sunday, April 24, 2016

Living with OCD

My phone has been ringing off the hook with people who are desperate to get treatment for OCD. There are a few reasons for their desperation.  First, the symptoms can be severe and create much suffering personally and in their relationships. Second,  people often are misdiagnosed and mistreated once they get to a therapist which leaves them feeling hopeless and helpless.  Finally, there are not enough therapists trained to treat OCD using evidenced based treatment, which is Exposure and Response Prevention. Consequently, people often have to travel great distances once they find a well trained therapist. I want you to know there is HOPE.  OCD is treatable. The treatment is actually simple but very difficult to do because it goes against what your brain is telling you. I tell kids to treat OCD like it's a bully, telling them awful things about themselves because it has figured out what matters most to them. Once you face the bully and call it exactly that; allow yourself to feel the anxiety without doing anything about it; and, most importantly, do the opposite of what the bully says (agree with the fear, contaminate yourself, hug your child while holding those awful thoughts, be uncertain....), OCD will begin to dissipate. See, OCD has no power as long as you don't believe it and refuse to do what it says. Even if you find yourself believing it, if you do the opposite, you will gain insight into how it is lying to you. You just have to take that leap of faith, be really courageous, and get to the other side. I am humbled by the clients I have the opportunity to care for who have OCD. They are the most courageous people I know. Come check out our support group on the first Thursday of each month from 6:30pm -7:30 pm to find out how to be on the path to recovery from OCD.

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