OCD TREATMENT, TV, & ARTICLES
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Book Review of "Confronting the Bully of OCD"
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|Click and turn to pages 56-57
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Another Book Review of "Confronting the Bully Of OCD"
Get FREE OCD advice within the next 24 hours from OCD specialist, Doctor Steven Brodsky, who is an
OCD expert in NY and NJ. Email Dr. Brodsky or call (only NY, NJ, CT) 212-726-2390 with your confidential questions about MEDICATION-FREE
cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD obsessions, panic, and compulsions. Or make an appointment
Take the OCD TEST by clicking on "OCD
SELF-TEST" (above left).
TREATMENT OF OCD (scroll down), find a therapist or OCD group, help a friend or relative:
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF OCD?
OCD is a very treatable condition
and, in many cases, medication might not be necessary. Hundreds of research studies agree that the best treatment for OCD
is a form of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy known as "exposure response-prevention" (ERP), which I practice.
ERP helps OCD sufferers overcome their fears and reduce their compulsive behaviors gradually, at a pace they're comfortable
with. While results are gradual, ERP does not require long term Traditional psychotherapy. Results occur in months not
years. ERP has been shown more effective in the long run (in terms of curing and preventing later relapses) than either medication
or other therapies.
I NEED MEDICATION?
helps many people reduce their symptoms, but the symptoms bounce right back once you stop the meds. ERP, by contrast, provides
OCD sufferers with a skill or technique to "boss back" the OCD and reclaim their lives. This gives them a skill
to prevent relapses. The majority of my OCD clients, and I've seen many severe cases, benefit from therapy with no medication
at all. And those who are on meds, I wean off of them by the time ERP therapy is concluded.
Having said that, I have recommended to some people to discuss with their psychiatrist the use of
medication as a temporary measure if they are in an emergency (potential job loss, divorce, absences from school) or if they
are too severe to even engage in therapy, but I usually save it as a last resort. I usually recommend to others that they
start with the therapy first and see how far they can go without meds. You can always add them later if needed. However, if
you are on meds now, I would not drop them until your condition has largely been stabilized by ERP, and I would only recommend
discussing with your doctor weaning off them while you continue with the ERP therapist for some months after, and eliminating
any leftover symptoms the medication was masking .
There are at least a dozen medications used for OCD,
such as "SSRIs," "Tricyclic Antidepressants," "Anxiolytic Benzodiazapines," and "Neuroleptics,"
who's names I'm not permitted to mention. This is not an exhaustive list. Different things work for different people and it
sometimes involves some trial and error before the right medication is found for each individual. So if one medication
doesn't work, don't give up on meds entirely. Each person's chemistry is different, and usually there is some medication
that will work for you.
HOW CAN I FIND AN OCD THERAPIST?
I practice in
Manhattan, New York City and I would be happy to offer you a free phone consultation at 212-726-2390. If you're out of the
NY area, you can also find a therapist in your area by visiting the OCD Foundation web site (www.ocfoundation.org) and/or from the Association Of Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies (www.ABCT.org). The OCD Foundation is a link on my website home page in fact. Ask for an OCD specialist. Then call the ones they list and
interview them on the phone before you make an appointment. The person should be able to tell you they have treated SEVERAL
OCD clients FOR OCD (not just for depression, etc.).
THERE ARE 2 "TEST QUESTIONS" YOU MUST
ASK A THERAPIST before you make an appointment: 1) Is ERP their main technique? If not, don't make an appointment.
ERP is the only therapy endorsed by the OC Foundation.
2) How many people have they SUCCESSFULLY treated for OCD? By "successfully" I mean
that by the end of therapy, the person is not on any medication, and is almost if not completely free of obsessions, compulsions,
and excessive anxiety. They should be able to tell you they did this with at least a few dozen people if you are in a major
metropolitan area (NY, LA, Chicago, Boston) or at least several people in other areas or countries.
DO SOME PEOPLE HESITATE TO SEEK TREATMENT?
On some level every OCD sufferer knows something is wrong,
but it's scary to accept it. Sometimes reading about OCD can help the sufferer realize they're not alone, and that OCD isn't
the worst thing, even though it may currently be interfering greatly in their life.
Many OCD sufferers arrive in
my office after years, in some cases decades, of refusing to get treatment. The reasons they hesitated differ with each individual.
Some common reasons are they think they're the only one going through this. Some people don't know OCD can be treated. It's
a lot harder to seek help if you think it's untreatable. Many others think the therapist will force them to face their worst
fears (a false assumptom I might add), which is too intimidating to them. Others fear therapy will actually make the problem
worse. Some can't even leave their homes on time to go to an appointment, or can't leave home at all, because of their elaborate
compulsions or avoidant behaviors. Others are simply too embarrassed by their behavior to share it with others (even though
I've heard just about everything one could hear). Finally, many OCD sufferers worry that they are "going crazy"
and in very extreme cases can become very depressed, anxious or in extremely rare cases actually hallucinate, and they might
fear a therapist will tell them it's something worse than OCD, like schizophrenia, etc. (which it's not).
CAN FAMILY AND FRIENDS HELP?
The most important advice I can give to the family and friends of an
OCD sufferer is to empathize with what the OCD sufferer is going through. Don't let him feel blamed, he is a victim, as indeed
the whole family is being victimized by OCD. It is OCD that is the enemy, not person suffering with it. He cannot stop it
himself. It is important for family and friends to unite with the sufferer against the true enemy, OCD.
same time, family and friends should not accomodate the OCD. That would merely reinforce the problem. It's not a problem for
sufferer if everyone goes along with it. So while you shouldn't scold him, you also should not perform these compulsive behaviors
for him. Don't take care of chores he avoids, or allow yourself to be delayed for events and appointments. You might have
to leave for appointments without him and have him join you later (or not at all).
Most importantly, don't try
to persuade an OCD sufferer that his worries are irrational. That will just make him worry more. It's like telling someone
not to think about a white elephant. It just makes them think about it more. I can't emphasize this enough.
may also help to let the sufferer know that OCD is highly treatable, and that it's not the worst thing. It's a lot easier
to accept they have OCD if they know it can be treated. The other good news is that it doesn't require long term psychotherapy
and might not require medication. Empasize that therapy is not scary and they will never be asked to do anything they feel
uncomfortable about. Finally, encourage the OCD sufferer to read some books about OCD and to view this website.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD BOOKS OR MOVIES ABOUT OCD?
There are many books about OCD. One that
I recommend is "Confronting the Bully of OCD," by my former client, Linda Maran (see top photo). It is one of the
few books written by someone who actually HAD OCD, instead of by a professional. It is available on Amazon.com.
others that I recommend are:
When Once Is Not Enough (by Gail Steketee)
Stop Obsessing (by Edna Foa)
The cable TV shows "Obsessed," "Hoarders," and "Monk" and the movies, "The Aviator"
and "As Good As It Gets," also depict the lives of OCD sufferers.
EMAIL DR. BRODSKY sjbrodsky(at)aol(dot)com for FREE advice within 24 hrs. from a specialist about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and therapy
(medication-free CBT) or call 212-726-2390
to learn about the drug-free cure for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Only Dr. Brodsky will ever read your questions. Or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
now online. (This website and Dr. Brodsky's advice is for informational purposes only and is not, nor should it
be construed as, treatment or diagnosis.)