WHAT IS OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a treatable neurobiological disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions/rituals) such as counting, checking, praying, and cleaning. These compulsions are performed in an effort to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions. OCD obsessions and compulsions can be extremely time-consuming causing significant emotional distress, and may greatly interfere with day-to-day functioning and interpersonal relationships. Individuals with OCD may go to great lengths to hide their obsessions and compulsions due to embarrassment and shame. It is estimated that one in every 40 adults, and one in every 100 children suffer with OCD.
The following videos provide more helpful information about OCD:
What to tell teachers or caretakers.
When to tell friends about my OCD.
Talking to my siblings about OCD.
Living with OCD as a teenager.
Facts about OCD:
· The exact cause of OCD is unknown, although research shows there may be a genetic component.
· OCD impacts 1 in every 40 adults and 1 in every 100 children.
· OCD affects approximately 2% of the population every year.
· OCD usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.
· There is no known cure for OCD, but effective treatment is available.
· OCD affects Women and Men equally.
· On average, it takes 9 years for an OCD sufferer to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
This is an informational website and is not intended to replace therapy or education from a mental health provider.
Exposure with response prevention (ERP)
Exposure with response prevention also known as ERP is the gold standard treatment for OCD. ERP is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for OCD. The basic principles surrounding ERP for OCD is to face your fear without engaging in a ritual (exposure + ritual prevention). However, we know this process can be extremely challenging and sounds much simpler than it often is. Specific steps are recommended in ERP and if possible it is best to do this type of treatment with an OCD specialist.
Important ERP steps
· Understand your OCD and OCD symptoms
· Identify a fear to work on
· Develop an OCD hierarchy for your fear
o Rank exposures for your fear on a scale from 1-10
o 1 should be at the bottom of your hierarchy which the least anxiety provoking exposures for that fear and 10 at the top with the most challenging exposures listed there
· Begin exposures with ritual prevention
o Systematically work your way up your hierarchy starting with the lower level exposures and working your way up to the high level exposures
o An exposure should be repeated multiple times without any rituals. Once an exposure no longer causes distress/anxiety you can move up to the next higher level exposure
o Continue this approach until you reach the top of your hierarchy at which point you can move onto another OCD hierarchy if you have one.
Remember repeated exposures with ritual prevention will allow you to habituate to a fear. Anytime you engage in a ritual both the fear and OCD cycle are reinforced.
FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
This section is designed specifically for college-aged adults/young adults. When living with OCD it can often be exhausting, confusing and frustrating. We hope that you will find videos in this section that are designed just for you with helpful tools. Remember OCD management is possible, with the appropriate resources and support you can live the life you deserve!
We know many of you are leaving for college soon. We want to see you off to a great start and thought these tips might be helpful:
1. Know the resources in your new area: Scope out the surrounding area for support groups, therapists, crisis hotlines, etc. Use this search tool to help you!
2. Utilize online OCD management tools: OCDChallenge.com is a free online OCD management tool that can be easily accessed from your phone or computer.
3. Know your support: Connect with someone that understands what you are going through and can encourage you during difficult times. This can be a family member, friend, someone from a support group, a congregation member, etc. Get connected to a support group. If there isn’t a local option, try an online support group!
4. Utilize the university’s resources: Look into the resources your school has to offer in regards to counseling and mental health services.
I know firsthand how difficult it can be to be a caregiver of someone struggling with OCD. However, I also know how inspiring it can be to watch my child get the proper help and be able to now live a meaningful life managing her OCD. As a caregiver for someone with OCD we want to help our loved one’s the best we know how. Sometimes however we may enable versus help. It is so important for you to understand what OCD is, what CBT is and the proper ways for you to help your loved ones fight the OCD versus giving into it. Remember to take care of yourself. Having a loved one with a mental illness can be difficult so you must set aside time for yourself, otherwise it will be hard for you to be supportive if you are burnt out.
First steps for caregivers:
· Learn about OCD
· Recognize OCD Symptoms
· Find a qualified treatment provider
· Support your loved one in treatment
· Avoid participating in rituals and reassurance (*Only make this change once agreed up in therapy/when your loved one is ready)
· Communicate positively – Avoid criticism
· Create a support system – Find a support group
· Find time for yourself
· Spend time with your loved one that doesn’t revolve around OCD
SELF SCREENING TESTS
The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale is one of several tests available to help evaluate Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Through the following links please find the YBOCS along with the OCD Symptom Checklist. These tests do not replace the need for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment by a qualified OCD treatment provider.
Books for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
1. Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Updated Edition)
Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D.
2. Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
3. When in Doubt, Make Belief: An OCD-Inspired Approach to Living with Uncertainty
Jeff Bell and Michael Jenike, M.D.
4. Is Fred in the Refrigerator? Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life
Shala Nicely, LPC
Children With OCD Books
1. Worried No More: Help and Hope for Anxious Children 2nd Edition
Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D.
2. What to do when your Child Has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Strategies and Solutions Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D.
3. Up and Down the Worry Hill: A Children’s Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and its Treatment Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D.
4. Fighting the OCD Monster: A Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Workbook for Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents
Haanusia Prithivi Raj
1. Getting Over OCD: A 10-Step Workbook for Taking Back Your Life
Jonathan S. Abramowitz PhD
2. The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Third Edition Edition
3. The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Bruce M. Hyman, Ph.D., LCSW and Cherlene Pedrick RN
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Katherine A. Phillips
Book for Parents of Children with Trichotillomania
- A Parent Guide to Hair Pulling Disorder: Effective Parenting Strategies for Children with Trichotillomania (Formerly “Stay Out of My Hair”)
Book for Hoarding
- Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving and Hoarding
Other Good Sources for more OCD Information: