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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jane Brody's NY Times article "Time To Get Rid Of All That Stuff", (Science, 11/22/11, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/health/the-hoarder-in-you-a-book-that-can-help-cut-through-the-clutter.html?ref=janeebrody) fails to mention that hoarding is a form of OCD. OCD can take thousands of different forms, not just cleanliness, checking, or neatness. Hoarders feel intense anxiety when discarding:  either vulnerability that they might need the item "just in case", or the equivalent of losing a loved one, betraying a relationship, or forgetting their own past.  Making the public aware of this connection would help many to seek the proper treatment, exposure therapy, which is the only therapy recommended by national mental health organizations.
10:13 pm est          Comments

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Pathological Altruism" (NYTimes, Sci., D1, 10/4/11; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/science/04angier.html?_r=1) is the term coined for people who sacrifice too much for another.  Paradoxically, such extreme sense of over-responsibility not only hurts the giver, but also the recipient.  What the Times fails to say is that this is indeed a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder known as scrupulosity-OCD.  While the Times properly describes the outward behavior, it fails to explain the underlying cause, and hence the treatment for it.  In mild forms, scrupulosity compels people to remove obstacles on the sidewalk that others might trip over, to call repetitively to check up on people's safety, or compulsively give away their savings to charity.  In more extreme forms, the person can take reckless risks to ease another's pain or suffering.  The Times noted examples of animal hoarding to "save" abandoned animals, organ donors, and doctors who take overly heroic measures to help a patient only to make them suffer more.  In all of these, the "altruist" is projecting their own insecurity or suffering onto another, seeing the recipient as more vulnerable than they may be.   Moreover, self-sacrificing parents, taken to an extreme, inadvertently make their children feel less deserving, guilty, and weak.   Acknowledging that this is a common form of OCD, it gives hope of very effective treatment for millions."  Exposure-response-prevention (ERP) is a special type of behavioral therapy which is the only treatment recommended by the International OCD Foundation.  
10:44 pm est          Comments

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, thousands will remember those who died and plan to visit the memorial. Ironically, thousands of the surviving victims with PTSD will turn off their TV and still can't leave their homes to attend the ceremony.   The New York Times (8/10/11, http://tinyurl.com/3b45rrw) reported on 9/11 victims who still have not obtained the proper treatment. Further, the most popular treatment for flashbacks, antipsychotic drugs, such as Respiridone, have failed to resolve their problems. (See 8/11, www.tinyurl.com/4yaykav.)   PTSD is an extremely treatable disorder. Exposure Therapy, a special cognitive-behavioral technique, has proven highly effective in hundreds of studies. Patients might not need medication indefinitely, if at all. Exposure therapy is very structured, systematically reducing anxiety, avoidance, and flashbacks, the classic symptoms of PTSD.   Moreover, it works for all kinds of PTSD, whether caused by terrorism, warfare, disaster, accidents, or criminal assault and rape. In short, it is tragic that victims and families still suffer completely unnecessarily.
9:00 pm est          Comments


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